The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B Ministry) has issued guidelines to print, electronic and digital media to refrain from publishing advertisements on the online betting platform.
The notice also stated that any gambling advertisement must have disclaimers like eg. the print/static advertisement must state that this game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive and should be played responsibly at your own risk. Similarly, the advertisement must not present “Online games for real money winnings”.
The I&B Department said in a statement: “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 Consumer Protection Act 1995. the regulation of cable television networks and advertising standards under the Standards of Journalistic Conduct established by the Press Council of India under the Press Council Act 1978”.
The notice further stated that gambling and betting are illegal in most parts of the country and pose a significant financial and socio-economic risk to consumers. Online betting advertisements have the effect of promoting this prohibited activity.
“No gambling advertisement may depict anyone under the age of 18, or who appears to be under 18, playing an online gambling game for real money. In addition, betting advertisements in online are misleading and do not appear to be in strict compliance with the Consumer Protection Act.”
The guidelines were issued in the light of examples of advertising websites and online betting platforms 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).