The Central government on Monday advised the online news websites and OTT platforms to refrain from broadcasting advertisements of online betting platforms.
The government has noted that betting is an illegal activity and its advertisements can not be shown on digital news platforms in India.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting observed that promotional content and advertisements of betting platforms are still visible on certain news platforms and OTT platforms.
“It has also come to the notice of this Ministry that some online offshore betting platforms have started using news websites as a surrogate product to advertise betting platforms on digital media,” said the ministry in an advisory to the digital media platforms.
The online advertisement intermediaries are also advised not to target such advertisements towards the Indian audience, said the Ministry.
“It has been observed that since betting and gambling are illegal, advertisements of online offshore betting and gambling platforms are prohibited. In this regard, it may be noted that in accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, advertisements of betting platforms, being an illegal activity, can not be shown on digital media,” said the Ministry.
In respect of the advertisements of the surrogate news websites operated by the online betting platforms, it may be mentioned that the logos of the concerned news websites are strikingly similar to the betting platform.
The concerned betting platforms and the corresponding news websites are also not registered with any legal authority under Indian laws, noted the Ministry.
Accordingly, the online and 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 said 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, said the Ministry.