The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Monday, in an advisory, asked print, electronic, and digital media organisations to refrain from publishing or displaying ads of online betting platforms. It also asked social media platforms to ensure that ads by online betting platforms are not targeted at Indian users through their platforms.

This Ministry’s advisory comes after it came across several instances of advertisements of online betting websites or platforms appearing in print, social, electronic, and online media.

“Betting and gambling are 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 significant financial and socio-economic risk for consumers, especially youth and children,” the Ministry stated.

It added that, keeping in mind the larger public interest involved, “the print and electronic media are advised to refrain from publishing advertisements of online betting platforms.”

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

The Ministry stated that ads by online betting platforms are misleading and do not appear to be “in strict conformity” with the various regulations of the country. This includes the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and the Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995. The advisory also added that it also includes “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 3. Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry also referred to its earlier advisory, issued in December last year, to private broadcasters to ensure that online gaming ads shown on their TV channels adhere to the guidelines of the Advertising Standards Council of India. According to the ASCI guidelines that came into effect in December, real money online gaming players need to mandatory display a disclaimer on the financial risks involved in their ads.