Expressing concern over misleading advertisements on online gaming, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Friday 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.
According to the advisory, private television channels will have to follow the guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on November 24, which will come into effect from December 15.
All broadcasters are advised that the guidelines issued by ASCI are complied with and advertisements broadcast on television adhere to the guidelines of the ASCI. It may also be ensured that advertisements do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law, the advisory said.
The ministry said it had come to its notice that a large number of advertisements on online gaming, fantasy sports, among others, have been appearing on television, and concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading.
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.
Accordingly, the MIB along with the ministry of consumer affairs and ministry of electronics and information technology convened a stakeholders consultative meeting on November 11 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.
The ministry said after the discussion and consultation, it was agreed that ASCI would issue appropriate guidelines for the benefit of the advertisers and broadcasters to ensure that the advertisements are transparent and protect consumers.
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.
It directed that every gaming advertisement, whether printed, audio or video, must carry the disclaimer, The game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly at your own risk, adding that such a disclaimer should occupy no less than 20 per cent of the space in the advertisement.
It said the advertisements should not present online gaming for real money winnings as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.
It should not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others, the ASCI added.
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