On June 13, 2022, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to print, electronic and digital media to refrain from advertising online betting platforms. The advisory comes in light of instances of a number of advertisements of online betting websites/platforms appearing in print, electronic, social and online media.
Betting and gambling is 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 the consumers, especially youth and children. Further, advertisements of online betting are misleading, and do not appear to be in strict conformity with the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, and 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 Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
The advisory has been issued in larger public interest, and it has advised the print and electronic media to refrain from publishing advertisements of online betting platforms. It has also advised the online and social media, including the online advertisement intermediaries and publishers, to not display such advertisements in India or target such advertisements towards the Indian audience.