Don’t Promote Online Betting: I&B Ministry Issues Advisory

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By: Joymala Bagchi
Updated: 13 June, 2022 8:52 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Electronic, Print and digital media platforms received an advisory from the Union information and broadcasting ministry to curtail advertisements on “betting and gambling”.

Advisory issued on Monday reads, “Betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of the country, and concerns have been expressed that advertisements of online betting promote an activity which is otherwise largely prohibited and poses a significant financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children.”

Citing the involvement of larger public interest, print and electronic media was advised to ‘refrain from publishing advertisements of online betting platforms.’

The online and social media, including the online advertisement intermediaries and publishers, were strictly advised not to display such advertisements in India or “target such advertisements towards the Indian audience.”

The advisory was issued after advertisements of online betting websites started appearing on every media platform at a higher frequency.

On December 4, 2020, the ministry had issued an advisory to Private Satellite TV channels to adhere to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) guidelines on ‘advertisements for online gaming which contained specific Do’s and Don’t for static/print and audio-visual advertisements of online gaming.’

It is to be noted that it was the time when COVID had hit the country with its first wave and several restrictions were imposed such as working from home, online schooling that involves spending a lot of time on laptops and social media.

Ministry says that 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, a reference to which has also been made in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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