Ministry of Information and Broadcasting advises media entities against allowing direct and indirect advertisements of gambling and betting
New Delhi: Black money is likely involved in gambling and betting advertisements, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated and “advised” media entities against allowing direct and indirect advertisements of betting.
The Ministry referred to the spike observed around major sporting events and warned that the Government may be forced to take action.
The Ministry issued an advisory today, asking all stakeholders, including the media entities, online advertisement intermediaries and social media platforms, to immediately refrain from showing advertisements and promotional content on betting and gambling in any form. “Failure to adhere to this advisory may invite appropriate action from the Government of India under various statutes,” it said.
The Ministry also cited the recent Central Government action against a network of agents who had collected substantial money from users of gambling apps that had subsequently funnelled the funds out of India to reiterate that advertisements of gambling and betting platforms pose significant financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children. It further added that this mechanism had linkages to money laundering networks, thereby threatening the financial security of the country.
The Ministry further stated in the advisory that along with these illegalities, it was also highly likely that black money was used to pay for such advertisements. To that end, the Ministry noted that certain media entities, including advertisement intermediaries and social media platforms, were allowing direct and indirect advertisements of betting and gambling platforms during major sporting events, including cricket tournaments.
The Ministry also observed that there was a tendency to spike the promotion of such betting and gambling platforms during a major sporting event, especially cricket, and one such important international event is beginning a few days from now.
The Ministry warned media platforms against publicising betting and gambling platforms. “The online advertisement intermediaries have also been advised not to target such advertisements towards the Indian audience,” it added, stating that betting and gambling was an illegal activity and hence advertisements/promotion of such activities directly or indirectly on any of the media platforms falls foul of the various statutes, including under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Press Council Act 1978, etc.
Furthermore, the recently amended rule 3 (1) (b) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 provides that intermediaries shall make reasonable efforts by themselves, and to cause the users of its computer resource to not host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information that “is in the nature of an online game that is not verified as a permissible online game; (x) is in the nature of advertisement or surrogate advertisement or promotion of an online game that is not a permissible online game, or of any online gaming intermediary offering such an online game”.
– global bihari bureau