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Government Asks News Sites, TV Channels, OTT Platforms to Stop Showing Offshore Betting Site Ads | 2YODOINDIA

Government Asks News Sites, TV Channels, OTT Platforms to Stop Showing Offshore Betting Site Ads

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issue two advisories, one for private television channels and the other for digital news publishers and OTT platforms, strongly advising them to stop showing advertisements of offshore online betting sites and surrogate advertisements of such sites.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had earlier issue an advisory on 13th June, 2022, advising newspapers, private TV channels, and digital news publishers to refrain from publishing advertisements on online betting platforms.

It had come to the notice of the Government that many sports channels on television, as well as on OTT platforms, have recently showing advertisements for offshore online betting platforms as well as their surrogate news websites.

The Advisories were supplement with evidence which contain direct and surrogate advertisements of offshore betting platforms such as Fairplay, PariMatch, Betway, Wolf 777, and 1xBet.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in its advisory observe that promotional content and advertisements of betting platforms are still visible on certain digital news platforms and OTT platforms.

In the Advisories, the Ministry has inform that online offshore betting platforms are now using news websites as a surrogate product to advertise the betting platforms on digital media.

In such cases, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has found that the logos of surrogate news websites bear a striking resemblance to betting platforms.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Said :

“Further, it has also come to the notice of that some online offshore betting platforms have started using news websites as a surrogate product to advertise betting platforms on digital media,”.

The advisories issue by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting state that since betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of the country, advertisements of these betting platforms as well as their surrogates are also illegal.

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The Advisories relied upon the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995 and the IT Rules, 2021.

Emphasizing that betting and gambling are illegal activities in most parts of India, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said advertisements of online offshore betting and gambling platforms are prohibited.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has state that neither the betting platforms nor the news websites are register under any legal authority in India.

Such websites are promoting betting and gambling under the garb of news as surrogate advertising.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Said :

“In accordance with Paragraph 9 of the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements 2022 under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, it has been observed that since betting and gambling is illegal, advertisements of online offshore betting and gambling platforms are prohibited. In this regard, it may be noted that in accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, advertisements of betting platforms, being an illegal activity, cannot be shown on digital media,”.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that with respect to the advertisements of the surrogate news websites operated by the online betting platforms, it may be mention that the logos of the concern news websites are strikingly similar to the betting platform.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Said :

“The concern betting platforms and the corresponding news websites are also not registered with any legal authority under Indian laws. Accordingly, the online offshore betting platforms appear to be promoting betting and gambling under the garb of news as surrogate advertising. In this regard, the Department of Consumer Affairs has also informed that online betting platforms have been advertising themselves as professional sports blogs, sports news websites, etc. while providing an indicative list of online betting platforms which are using news for surrogate advertising,”.

The ministry ask the online news websites and OTT platforms to refrain from broadcasting advertisements of online betting platforms and/ or their surrogate news websites or any such product/service depicting these platforms in a surrogate manner.

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It has now come to the notice of this Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that some online offshore betting platforms have start using news websites as surrogate products to advertise their betting platforms on TV channels.

In a separate advisory to Private Satellite Television Channels, the Ministry said that some online offshore betting platforms have started using news websites as a surrogate product to advertise their betting platforms on TV channels.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Said :

“In this regard, it may be noted that in accordance with the Advertising Code under Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995, advertisements of betting platforms, being an illegal activity, cannot be shown 3. on TV channels,”.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting work in close coordination with the Department of Consumer Affairs which provided an indicative list of online betting platforms which were using news for surrogate advertising and informed that online betting platforms have advertising themselves in a surrogate manner as professional sports blogs, sports news websites, etc.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has state that such advertisements are not in conformity with various related laws and has strongly advised TV channels as well as digital news publishers from broadcasting such betting platforms or their surrogate news websites, reminding TV channels that violation may invite penal action.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also advise online advertisement intermediaries to not target such advertisements toward Indian audiences.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has mention that betting and gambling pose significant financial and socio-economic risks for consumers, especially youth and children.

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As the promotion of offline or online betting/gambling through advertisements is not advise in the larger public interest.

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