Government's Stern Warning Against Advertisements on Online Betting Platforms

In a decisive move aimed at curbing the promotion of gambling and betting platforms, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a stern advisory to media entities, online advertising intermediaries, and social media platforms. The advisory strongly urges all stakeholders to immediately cease the display of advertisements or promotional content related to betting and gambling. The government has warned that failure to comply with this advisory could result in appropriate legal action under Indian statutes.

Dangers of Gambling Advertisements and Their Financial Implications

Citing recent actions against a network of agents involved in collecting money from users of gambling apps, the ministry highlights the significant financial and socio-economic risks posed by advertisements of gambling and betting platforms. These platforms have been implicated in money laundering schemes that funnel funds out of India, thus endangering the country's financial security. The advisory specifically underscores the susceptibility of young individuals, even children, to these platforms, and the potential for exploitation.

Underlying Concerns: Black Money and Major Sporting Events

The advisory brings to light the concern that black money might be used to finance these advertisements. The ministry points out that certain media entities, advertising intermediaries, and social media platforms have allowed direct and indirect advertisements for betting and gambling platforms, especially during major sporting events like cricket tournaments. The advisory notes that promotions for these platforms tend to surge during significant sporting events, with an important international event scheduled to begin shortly.

Government's Efforts and Previous Advisories

To combat the growing influence of gambling advertisements, the ministry has issued multiple advisories cautioning media platforms against publicizing such platforms. Online advertising intermediaries have also been explicitly advised not to target Indian audiences with these advertisements. Similar advisories were issued in June and October 2022, as well as May 2023. These advisories establish that betting and gambling are illegal activities, and any promotion of such activities on media platforms violates various statutes, including the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, and the Press Council Act, 1978.

Technological Regulations and Intermediary Guidelines

The article highlights the recent amendment to rule 3 (1) (b) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. This amendment mandates intermediaries to exert reasonable efforts to prevent the hosting, display, or promotion of online games that are not verified as permissible. This provision extends to online game advertisements and surrogate advertisements, emphasizing the government's commitment to regulating the digital sphere.

In conclusion, the government's stern advisory against carrying advertisements on online betting platforms underscores the pressing need to address the risks posed by these promotions. With potential connections to money laundering networks and financial threats to the nation, it is imperative for all stakeholders to heed the ministry's warning and work collectively to curb the influence of gambling and betting advertisements in the digital landscape.

Also Read: Digital Puzzle Games Enhance Memory in Older Adults, Study Reveals

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