Government Issues Second Advisory on Gambling Ads

The Indian government has issued a second advisory warning to the country’s major media platforms in five months as the government continues its crackdown on betting, slots, and live casino online adverts.


A spokesperson for the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting referred to the outright prohibition of gambling throughout India in its recommendation, citing IT rules established in 2021, which outlaw advertisements of illegal activities by digital news publishers and streaming platforms. They also argue that TV channels must follow the advertising code under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act of 1995, while guidelines on misleading advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 should also be consulted.


The news comes less than six months after its original advisory was put in place, with a lack of clarity on the legality of gambling laws one of the reasons why media conglomerates are said to have largely ignored previous guidelines.


It continues a national and regional mobilisation against gambling in the country. Earlier this month, the government in Tamil Nadu issued an ordinance for an outright ban on online gambling via the Supreme Court, despite a previous ruling by the High Court deeming any intervention by officials into games of skill or chance were unconstitutional.


Is an outright ban a good idea in such an uncertain landscape for gambling in India? Why could industry regulation be the answer?


India Crying Out For Guidance

Experts believe the solution could be for the government to create a regulatory authority to establish rules for the larger ecosystem that comes with gambling.


Currently, confusion reigns supreme throughout India – although betting is largely prohibited, loopholes mean many players can access offshore sports, blackjack, and roulette online betting companies with an Indian presence.


An outright ban on media advertising also feels excessive – in countries such as the United Kingdom, a consensus across both sides of the gambling debate agreed on a watershed time. No gambling adverts cant be shown on any major media outlet before 9 pm, helping to protect minors from befalling harm.


Some analysts believe a similar approach could be adopted in India to not close the door to a solid revenue stream for media conglomerates.


What Are The Benefits Of Gambling Legalisation

According to a paper by industry analysts ENV Media, the government is missing out on vast revenue amounts from taxation income by failing to regulate gambling in India. 


In their study “Off Shore Gambling Licenses and Regulated Markets”, they write: “In a nation with widespread illegal betting and gambling (reportedly worth well over $100bn annually), criminal activity has had the chance to flourish and continues to engage public resources and law-enforcement efforts. Emerging markets (India in particular but not only) will benefit from creating their own Central regulatory framework, a Gambling oversight body, and a Consumer Data protection regulation. The goal of growing yet unregulated markets should be to achieve high consumer and public interest protection levels through modern legislation. Local jurisdiction licensing and legal channeling has proven as the most efficient means of achieving such ambitious long-term benefits.”


They also argue other real-world benefits to legalising gambling – including job creation, consumer protection, and sector transparency. 

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