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Consumer watchdog CCPA cautions celebrities, influencers against promotion of gambling

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Wednesday issued an advisory asking and to not promote and gambling.

The consumer protection watchdog also warned celebrities, influencers and other similar stakeholders that it will take stringent action against endorsements of illegal activities including betting and gambling.

“The advisory underscores the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s efforts in issuing various advisories to media platforms, cautioning them against publicising betting and gambling platforms. Online advertisement intermediaries have also been warned against targeting such advertisements toward the Indian audience,” the CCPA said in a statement.

“If any violation of the guidelines is found, stringent measures, as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, will be initiated against (those) involved, including manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, endorsers, and any other relevant stakeholders,” it added.

In August last year, the information and broadcasting ministry had issued guidelines against advertisement of online gambling, just ahead of the Asia Cup cricket tournament. In May, the government asked states to take action against online betting and gambling platforms using outdoor media, such as hoardings and posters.

Online gaming companies, through their industry lobby groups, had made representations to the government seeking its intervention in stopping endorsement of illegal activities like betting and gambling.

“Despite this (earlier advisories), online gambling sites and apps persist in advertising gambling directly, as well as under the guise of gaming … (the advisory) will also help in distinguishing legitimate Indian online skill gaming operators, which provide the highest player protection measures and are a form of entertainment against these illegal gambling sites which are the main reason for widespread consumer harm and problems,” said Roland Landers, chief executive of the All India Gaming Federation, which counts a number of real money gaming firms among its membership.

In April last year, ET reported that online betting and gambling portals had continued to aggressively advertise on social media platforms despite India’s gaming regulations prohibiting betting and wagering of any kind.

“If you see a popular cricketer or an actor endorsing an app that offers betting…it might be considered as an acceptable practice. These apps also marketed themselves on social media as ‘no TDS, no GST’ apps, which is illegal. The gaming industry had raised these concerns with the government,” a senior executive at an e-gaming firm told ET.

Mar 06,2024

Source: Economic Times

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