The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) on Monday issued a notice to print, electronic and digital media to refrain from promoting online betting platforms. The notice was issued in the light of examples of websites and online betting platforms advertising in the media following a meeting between the ministry and the ministries of consumer affairs, electronics and IT, as well as the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and Online Rummy Federation (ORF).
The I&B Department said gambling and betting is illegal in most parts of the country and poses a significant financial and socio-economic risk to consumers. Advertisements on online betting have the effect of promoting this prohibited activity, he added.
“The online betting advertisements are misleading and do not appear to be in strict compliance with the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act 1995 and advertising standards under the standards of journalistic conduct established by the Press Council of India under the Press Council Act, 1978,” he said.
Online and social media, including online advertising intermediaries and publishers, have also been asked to refrain from promoting such advertisements in India.
The ministry had also issued a notice to television broadcasters on December 4, 2020 to adhere to ASCI’s guidelines on online gambling advertisements.
The ASCI guidelines state the following:
- No gaming advertisement may depict persons under the age of 18, or who appear to be under the age of 18, engaging in online gambling for real winnings, or suggest that such persons may play such games.
- Each game advertisement must have printed/static and audio/video disclaimers stating that there are financial risks and that they may be addictive.
- In print, such a disclaimer should occupy no less than 20% of advertising space.
- In audio/video, the disclaimer should be written at a normal speaking rate and in the same language as the advertisement.
- For audio-visual materials, the disclaimer must be in audio-visual format.
- Ads must not present online gaming as an income opportunity or employment alternative.
- Advertisements must not depict individuals engaging in gambling activities as more successful than others.
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