As the cricketing world gears up for the much-awaited Asia Cup and the Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has taken a step to curb the promotion of online gambling and betting platforms. The ministry has released a set of new guidelines that sternly warn media entities, online advertising intermediaries, and social media platforms to abstain from displaying any form of advertisements or promotional content related to online gambling.
Government Raises Alarm Over Surge in Betting Ads During Major Sporting Events
The Ministry’s advisory emphasizes the recurring trend of a surge in promotions for betting and gambling platforms during major sporting events, notably cricket tournaments. The government has expressed concern over the potential repercussions of these advertisements, citing instances of money laundering networks that have been connected to such activities.
A recent action by the government against agents involved in collecting funds from gambling apps and channeling them out of the country and also blocking numerous gambling apps has brought these issues to the forefront. The Ministry believes that these mechanisms pose a severe financial and socio-economic risk, especially to the younger demographic, thereby jeopardizing the country’s overall financial security.
In light of previous advisories issued in June and October 2022, as well as in April preceding the Indian Premier League (IPL), the government reiterates the illegality of betting and gambling activities and their promotion through any media platform. Such promotions have been deemed contrary to various statutes, including the Consumer Protection Act and the Press Council Act. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules have also been invoked, specifically cautioning against content that promotes online games that are not permissible under the law.
The Ministry’s directive has received support from officials who stress that non-compliance could result in legal action taken by the government under relevant statutes. The advisory aims to prevent these promotions from exploiting the popularity of cricket and major sporting events, thereby protecting the financial interests and security of the nation.
With the Asia Cup and the ICC ODI World Cup just around the corner, the government has implored all stakeholders in the media industry to uphold these guidelines and prevent the dissemination of content that promotes illegal gambling and betting platforms.
In January this year, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology introduced draft online gaming rules as part of the Indian Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, aiming to regulate the growing online gaming industry due to concerns over gambling addiction, particularly among minors.