India seeks to curb online betting ads

By Zak Thomas-Akoo

The government of India announced in an advisory statement to media on 13 June that the print and electronic media “should refrain” from publishing ads for online betting platforms.

The statement was signed by Kshitij Aggarwal, the assistant director of digital media at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Aggarwal cited the disconnect between the current legal environment in which activities deemed gambling are illegal in the majority of Indian states, and the publication of advertisements for online betting.

These ads, he noted, were promoting an activity which was prohibited in most circumstances.

The government also made reference to what it termed “the significant socio-economic risk for consumers, especially youth and children,” as a factor in its decision. In addition, Aggarwal pointed to legal issues, arguing that current advertisements “do not appear to be in strict conformity” with Indian law.

Aggarwal stated: “In light of the above and having regard to the larger public interest involved, the print and electronic media is advised to refrain from publishing advertisements of online betting platforms.

“Online and social media, including the online advertisement intermediaries and publishers, are advised not to display such advertisements in India or target such advertisements towards the Indian audience.”

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