Advisory against ‘misleading’ online gaming ads

Chennai: Taking a strong stand against misleading advertisements on online gaming, the Centre on Friday, has issued an advisory to all private satellite TV channels stating that no advertisement should present online gaming for real money winnings as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.

It also directed broadcasters to ensure that such ads do not promote any activity prohibited by statute or law.

According to an official statement, “It had come to the notice of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) that a large number of advertisements on online gaming, fantasy sports etc have been appearing on television. Concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading, do not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and other risks associated thereof, are not in strict conformity with the Advertising Code laid down under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 and the Consumer Protection Act 2019”.

Now, all private television channels will have to follow the guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on 24 November, which will come into effect from 15 December.

The move comes almost a month after the MIB, along with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology convened a stakeholders consultative meeting, with ASCI, News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and the Online Rummy Federation (ORF), it said.

As per the ASCI guidelines, no gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years engaged in playing an online game for real money winnings or suggest that such persons can play these games, and that every gaming advertisement, whether printed, audio or video, must carry the disclaimer, that the game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive.

 

NT Bureau