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India adopts new warnings for online gambling ads

Gambling should not be promoted as a source of additional income.
Gambling should not be promoted as a source of additional income.

All ads for gaming platforms offering real money winnings will have to carry disclaimers warning about the financial risk of gambling.

India.- The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued new rules for gambling advertising, which were designed after consultation with regulators and civil society organisations.

The new rules will become effective as of December 15.

They aim to set standards and eliminate ambiguity for online platforms that take real money bets and offer real money winnings or awards in some other form in India.

The document, which has been published on the ASCI website, notes an increase in the use of such platforms.

In the preamble, the ASCI explains that it is not within its jurisdiction “to decide the legality of such games, and objections related to the legality of such games, and the appearance of their advertisements in specific media are outside of ASCI purview, and must be taken up with the concerned sector regulators within the government.”

The ASCI can, however, process complaints regarding the content of the adverts when they break the industry’s code.

It says real money games carry an “element of risk through financial losses” and can “be addictive in nature”. It states that disclaimers must be added on to highlight this, as some advertisers have proactively done already.

The disclaimers must occupy no less than 20 per cent of the advertisement space and must read: “This game involves an element of financial risk, and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.”

For audiovisual media, the disclaimer needs to be in both the audio and visual formats.

Aside from these warnings, the new advertising standards also determine that no person under the age of 18 should appear playing in promotional pieces for companies that offer games with real money winnings.

The platforms should not be advertised as an alternative source of income or an employment option, and ads should not suggest that a person engaged in gaming is in any way more successful than others.

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