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I&B Ministry asks state govts to curb outdoor ads of online betting and gambling platforms

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has also requested that appropriate action be taken to curb outdoor ads of betting and gambling platforms which appear on hoardings, posters, banners, auto rickshaw branding, etc.

Taking cognisance of ‘misleading’ advertisements of online betting websites and platforms, which are now predominantly on outdoor media, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has issued an advisory asking for appropriate action against them by state governments.

The ‘misleading’ ads of online betting websites and platforms, which prima facie appear to be violative of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 were once predominant in print, electronic and online media, but recently have shifted to outdoor media for luring the gullible masses.

“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. Keeping in view the larger public interest, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India issued an advisory, dated 13.06.2022 to the media to refrain from publishing such advertisements,” the ministry said.

Further, to curb the practice of surrogate advertisement of online betting and gambling, the I&B Ministry, previously, had also advised private satellite TV channels, digital news publishers and OTT platforms to refrain from broadcasting/publishing ads of such platforms and/or any of their surrogate products through two separate advisories October 3, 2022. These advisories have been reiterated by the Ministry on April 6, 2023.

The Ministry noted that “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.”

Therefore, it has advised all state governments to take appropriate action to curb these outdoor ads.

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