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12 Apr 2022

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said it has screened 35 ads from the real money gaming category and identified 14 as being in potential violation of its code. The self-regulatory body said it is keeping a tab on TV as well as on OTT ads.

The guidelines on real money gaming ads issued by the ASCI came into effect on December 15, 2020, requiring gaming advertisements to not be aimed at minors, not present gaming as a possible source of livelihood or link it to success.

From January 2021 to January 2022, ASCI has processed 117 complaints related to Online real money gaming. Last week, the government in the Parliament said it issued an advisory on 04 April 2020 to private satellite TV channels to comply with the guidelines of ASCI on advertisements relating to online gaming to protect consumers and inform them regarding financial risk.

Also read: UK to ban soccer players from promoting betting apps

This March alone, 285 social media ads of online real-money gaming companies were identified as being in violation of the ASCI Code.

ASCI noted that in some instances dubious claims such as ‘India’s biggest 1st prize’ were being made, and in many cases, the disclaimer informing consumers of the risks was flashed very quickly rather than at a normal speaking pace. 

Also read: Bring uniform tax, regulate online gaming says Sushil Modi in Rajya Sabha

The companies found violating the ASCI code include MPL, Winzo, Junglee Rummy, My11Circle, Betway, Gamezy, and My11Circle.  In some cases, the advertisements had celebrities acting while the disclaimer was being spoken, distracting consumers from important information about risks. Some advertisements had disclaimers that were smaller than what has been prescribed.

These attempts at glossing over the disclaimers required to be carried out in the prescribed manner, informing about the risks of financial loss or game addiction, can severely compromise consumer interest. ASCI has urged gaming industry bodies to take up this issue with their members.

Manisha Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Secretary-General (SG), ASCI, said: “ASCI is concerned to note that, despite clear guidelines, some online real-money gaming firms are attempting a shortcut. For an industry that is under significant regulatory scrutiny, such acts by some companies paint the entire industry as irresponsible. IPL, being a massive platform, requires responsible behaviour from all parties – including gaming firms, broadcasters, celebrities and ad creators. We hope that all parties play their roles to ensure that consumers are not exposed to misleading advertising.”

 

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