Take action against hoardings and posters promoting online betting and gambling, Centre tells States

After Central advisories to media last year, ads for betting and gambling apps have been largely curbed in newspapers, TV channels and streaming platforms

May 02, 2023 07:35 pm | Updated 08:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Image used for representational purpose.

Image used for representational purpose. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Centre has asked States to take action against online betting and gambling platforms using outdoor media, such as hoardings and posters, to promote their websites and applications.

“While such advertisements have been largely curbed in mainstream print, electronic and digital media, it has now come to the notice that some betting and gambling platforms have started using outdoor media such as hoardings, posters, banners, auto rickshaw branding, etc. to promote their websites/apps in India,” said a letter written by Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra, sent to States and Union Territories on May 2.

Financial, social risk

Last year, the Ministry had noticed that advertisements of online betting websites and platforms were being published or broadcast through the print, electronic and online media. “Such advertisements were prima facie observed to be misleading, and not in strict conformity with the Consumer Protection Act. Since betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of the country, they pose financial and social economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry had earlier issued an advisory to the media on June 13, 2022, directing them to refrain from publishing such advertisements in the larger public interest.

Also read: Online betting platform advertisements still visible on TV and digital media: I&B Ministry

In order to curb the practice of surrogate advertising of online betting and gambling, the Ministry had also issued two advisories on October 3, 2022, asking private satellite television channels, digital news publishers and OTT (over-the-top or streaming) platforms to refrain from broadcasting or publishing advertisements of such platforms and/or any of their surrogate products. These advisories were reiterated on April 6, 2023.

Threat of legal action

In last month’s advisory, the Ministry had taken strong exception to some instances of mainstream English and Hindi newspapers carrying advertisements and promotional content of betting websites, and said that the government would be forced to take appropriate legal action against such non-compliance.

Also read: Centre asks Google to stop publishing online betting ads

“The advisory has been issued to all media formats, including newspapers, television channels, and online news publishers, and showed specific examples where such advertisements have appeared in the media in recent times,” the Ministry had said, objecting to the promotion by a specific betting platform that encouraged people to watch a sports league on its website in prima facie violation of the Copyright Act.

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