Influencers may soon be booked for gambling ads | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Influencers may soon be booked for gambling ads

Mar 18, 2024 08:06 AM IST

The watchdog has mounted a watch and endorsers could face stringent action, including fine and prosecutions, an official said

Social media influencers could face action for endorsing online gambling amid growing instances, the country’s consumer protection watchdog has stated in an advisory to online platforms and advertising intermediaries, people familiar with the matter said.

The authority has asked online advertisement intermediaries not to target Indian audiences with betting ads (Shutterstock)
The authority has asked online advertisement intermediaries not to target Indian audiences with betting ads (Shutterstock)

The statutory Central Consumer Protection Authority has told self-regulatory bodies and advertising intermediaries that “increasing instances” of direct and surrogate endorsements of betting and gambling, both banned under Public Gambling Act of 1867, had come to its notice.

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The watchdog has mounted a watch and endorsers could face stringent action, including fine and prosecutions, an official said, declining to be named.

The authority has asked online advertisement intermediaries not to target Indian audiences with betting ads. “Advertisement of online betting platforms and apps promotes an activity that is predominantly banned and carries significant financial and socio-economic implications on consumers, particularly the youth,” the advisory stated.

Social media influencers and celebrities were found to be endorsing gambling online and they will be “equally liable” under various provisions and rules under the Consumer Protection Act 2019, according to the advisory.

The advisory has asked these platforms and influencers to immediately refrain from showing such advertisements or promotional content in any form whatsoever, failing with the government would be constrained to take action under various statutes, an official of the consumer affairs ministry said.

“The law on online gaming is not uniform across the country, but online gambling is prohibited in a majority of states,” said Ashok Paul, a lawyer specialising in cyber laws.

Sikkim regulated and licensed all forms of online gaming and betting through legislation in 2008. Telangana banned all forms of online games played for stakes with the Gaming Act of 2017. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, too, have banned all online games played for stakes.

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