In its advisory, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said advertisements of gambling or betting platforms not only pose significant financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children, but have linkages to money laundering networks, thereby threatening the financial security of the country.
It advised all stakeholders, including the media entities, online advertisement intermediaries and social media platforms, to immediately refrain from showing advertisements and promotional content on betting or gambling in any form. It added that failure to adhere to this advisory may invite appropriate action from the Government of India under various statutes.
The Ministry has cited the recent central government action against a network of agents who had collected substantial money from users of gambling apps that had subsequently funnelled the funds out of India to reiterate that advertisements of gambling or betting platforms pose significant financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children. It has further added that this mechanism has linkages to money laundering networks, thereby threatening the financial security of the country.
The Ministry has stated in the advisory that along with these illegalities, it is also highly likely that black money is used to pay for such advertisements. To that end, the Ministry has noted that certain media entities, including advertisement intermediaries and social media platforms, have been allowing direct and indirect advertisements of betting and gambling platforms during major sporting events, including cricket tournaments.
Further, the Ministry has observed that there is a tendency to spike the promotion of such betting and gambling platforms during a major sporting event, especially cricket, and one such important international event is beginning a few days from now.
The online advertisement intermediaries have also been advised not to target such advertisements towards the Indian audience. Advisories issued by the Ministry on 13.06.2022, 03.10.2022 and 06.04.2023 were issued to this end. These advisories have stated that betting and gambling was an illegal activity and hence advertisements or promotion of such activities directly or indirectly on any of the media platforms falls foul of the various statutes, including under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Press Council Act 1978, etc.