ASCI finds 14 ads in violation of online real money gaming guidelines in the first week of IPL

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani | Updated on: Apr 12, 2022

285 social media ads found to be in violation of the ASCI code in March

With high decibel advertising from the online real-money gaming industry visible on the ongoing Indian Premier League, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has flagged off concerns about some of the ads not meeting prescribed guidelines, which it said can “severely compromise consumer interest.”

ASCI said it screened 35 ads of online real-money gaming companies aired during the first week of T20 league’s ongoing season and found 14 being in “potential violation of its code.” This was across TV and OTT platforms

It pointed out that in some instances online real-money gaming players are making dubious claims such as “India’s biggest 1 st Prize” while in many other cases the disclaimer informing consumer about risks is flashed quickly, which is not at a normal speaking pace. “In some cases, the advertisements had celebrities acting while the disclaimer was being spoken, distracting consumers from important information about risks. Some advertisements had disclaimers that were smaller than what has been prescribed,” it added.

It has found as many as 285 social media ads of online real-money gaming players in violation of the ASCI code in the month of March.

Manisha Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Secretary-General (SG), ASCI, said, “ASCI is concerned to note that, despite clear guidelines, some online real-money gaming firms are attempting a shortcut. For an industry that is under significant regulatory scrutiny, such acts by some companies paint the entire industry as irresponsible. IPL, being a massive platform, requires responsible behaviour from all parties – including gaming firms, broadcasters, celebrities and ad creators. We hope that all parties play their roles to ensure that consumers are not exposed to misleading advertising.”

“These attempts at glossing over the disclaimers required to be carried in the prescribed manner, informing about the risks of financial loss or game addiction, can severely compromise consumer interest. ASCI has urged gaming industry bodies to take up this issue with their members,” it added.

ASCI guidelines on real-money gaming came into effect on December 15, 2020. The guidelines require advertisements to not be aimed at minors, not present gaming as a source of livelihood or link it to success. In addition, the guidelines require all advertisements to carry a prominent disclaimer regarding risk of financial loss and the addictive nature of such games. These guidelines were backed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which issued an advisory asking that advertisements adhere to the guidelines.

Published on April 12, 2022
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