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Refrain from promoting betting and gambling, consumer watchdog warns celebrities

New Delhi: In response to an increase in advertisements and endorsements for betting and gambling, India’s consumer watchdog has issued an advisory warning celebrities about promoting such activities.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), in a circular on Wednesday, said any violation of its guidelines would be met with strict legal action, which could mean penalties for all those involved—from manufacturers and advertisers to social media platforms and even the celebrities themselves—while also referring to multiple notifications issued by it in 2022 and 2023.

“It has come to our attention that betting platforms are employing celebrities and influencers to endorse and promote their betting activities. Consequently, endorsement by celebrities gives an impression that indulging in such activity is acceptable. Engaging in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status in the majority of the states, renders one equally liable for participating in an illegal activity. Hence, celebrities and influencers are advised to refrain from endorsing and promoting illegal betting and gambling activities,” the CCPA said in its advisory.

The agency, which comes under the nodal ministry of consumer affairs, reiterated that promoting or advertising any illegal activities in itself is also illegal. “It is hereby cautioned that any advertisement or endorsement, whether directly or indirectly, of activities which are otherwise prohibited by law, including but not limited to betting or gambling, through advertisements or promotions, shall be subject to rigorous scrutiny,” it added.

Mint had earlier reported that more than a dozen celebrities including cricketers, commentators and Bollywood stars were continuing to endorse betting platforms. These included Sanjay Manjrekar and Aakash Chopra, who had been appearing in online gambling ad campaigns for offshore companies like Parimatch News and Betway. However, many of the celebrity endorsements did not stop despite multiple warnings issued by the authorities.

Mar 07,2024

Source: Mint