Authorities in India warn TV channels to stop broadcasting gambling ads

Betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of India.
Betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of India.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has ordered TV channels, OTT services and news websites to stop advertising online betting sites.

India.- The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a new warning to TV channels, OTT (over-the-top) services and news websites, ordering them to stop broadcasting gambling advertisements. It observed that some media were not complying with the regulations.

The ministry said some offshore online betting platforms had started using news websites as substitute products for advertising betting platforms on digital media. It advised that betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of India, as are advertisements for overseas online betting and gambling platforms.

According to the Hindustan Times, the government said: “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.”

To date, apart from the Supreme Court’s precedent on skill-based gambling, there is no federal statute to govern India’s gambling industry, with each state taking its own stance on the issue. A panel set up by prime minister Narendra Modi has concluded that India should establish a regulatory body for online skill games. The regulator would classify which online games as based on skill or chance, implement rules to block prohibited formats and enforce stricter gambling regulations.

According to Reuters, the report recommends that a separate law should be enacted to regulate online gaming as a “long-term measure”. In the interim, IT law could be used to regulate the industry until a new law is enacted.

The IT ministry will finalise the report after receiving further comments from panellists, including the heads of the finance and sports ministries. It will be then sent to the Cabinet Secretariat for approval, although there is no timeline. The report could shape the future of India’s mobile gaming industry, which is expected to be worth $5bn by 2025.

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