The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Wednesday asked celebrities and social media influencers to refrain from endorsing or promoting illegal betting and gambling activities. It said stringent action would be taken against those who do such promotions.

In an advisory, the CCPA said it has come to its attention that betting platforms are employing celebs and social media influencers to endorse and promote betting activities.

It noted that endorsements by celebrities give an impression that indulging in online gambling and betting is acceptable. “Engaging in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status in the majority of the states, renders one equally liable for participating in an illegal activity. Hence, celebrities and influencers are advised to refrain from endorsing and promoting illegal betting and gambling activities,” the advisory added.

In the past, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has come out with several advisories cautioning publishers and digital platforms from carrying ads promoting betting or gambling.

The CCPA Advisory reiterated that betting and gambling is prohibited under the Public Gaming Act 1867 and is considered illegal in most regions of the country. Hence, it warned that advertisement or promotion of online betting platforms and apps promotes an activity that “is predominantly banned.”

“Despite this, online betting platforms and apps persist in advertising betting and gambling directly, as well as under the guise of gaming. Endorsement of such activities presents considerable financial and socio-economic implications, especially for the youth,” the CCPA advisory noted.

 It further pointed out that the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022, “categorically prohibit advertisement of products or services prohibited under any prevailing law.”

“If any violation of the guidelines is found, stringent measures, as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, will be initiated against those involved, including manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, endorsers, and other relevant stakeholders,” the CCPA stated.