The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting expressed concerns over “misleading” advertisements for online gaming platforms. These concerns stem from the growing number of misleading and harmful advertisements in the online gaming sector.
As a combative meaure, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Friday issued an advisory to all private satellite TV channels stating that the advertisement for these real money winnings platform should not promote itself as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.
According to the advisory, all 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.
The Ministry’s advisory, said, “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.”
“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.”
“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).”
The ministry said after the discussion and consultations, that ASCI would issue appropriate guidelines for the benefit of the advertisers and broadcasters to ensure that the advertisements are transparent and safeguard consumer intrests.
- No gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years, or who appears to be under the age of 18, engaged in playing a game of ONLINE GAMING FOR REAL MONEY WINNINGS, or suggest that such persons can play these games
- Every such gaming advertisement must carry the following disclaimer:
Print/static: This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk
- Such a disclaimer should occupy no less than 20% of the space in the advertisement
- It should also SPECIFICALLY meet disclaimer guidelines 4 (i) (ii) (iv) and (viii) laid out in the ASCI code
Audio/video: “This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.”
- Such a disclaimer must be placed in normal speaking pace at the end of the advertisement
- It must be in the same language as the advertisement
- For audio-visual mediums, the disclaimer needs to be in both audio and visual formats
- The advertisements should not present ‘Online gaming for real money winnings’ as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.
- The advertisement should not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.
The advisory also 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 percent of the space in the advertisement.