Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India (I&B ministry) has issued an advisory to print, electronic and digital media to refrain from advertising online betting platforms. The advisory comes in light of instances of a number of advertisements of online betting websites/platforms appearing in print, electronic, social and online media.
Betting and gambling, illegal in most parts of the country, pose significant financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children, the advisory states. It has further added that these advertisements on online betting have the effect of promoting this largely prohibited activity. “The advertisements of online betting are misleading, and do not appear to be in strict conformity with the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, and advertisement norms under the Norms of Journalistic Conduct laid down by the Press Council of India under the Press Council Act, 1978”, it has stated.
The advisory has been issued in larger public interest, and it has advised the print and electronic media to refrain from publishing advertisements of online betting platforms. It has also advised the online and social media, including the online advertisement intermediaries and publishers, to not display such advertisements in India or target such advertisements towards the Indian audience.
On 4th December 2020, the I&B ministry had issued an advisory to Private Satellite TV channels to adhere to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) guidelines on advertisements of online gaming which contained specific Dos and Don’ts for print and audio-visual advertisements of online gaming.