I&B ministry issues advisory on TV advertisements for online gaming, fantasy sports 

The Ministry's advisory directs the advertisers to provide appropriate disclaimers that clearly state that such games involve financial risk and no one under 18 years of age should take part in them. 

Created On: Dec 5, 2020 13:59 ISTModified On: Dec 5, 2020 14:00 IST
Online gaming

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory on December 4, 2020 on television advertisements for online gaming and fantasy sports in all private satellite TV channels.

The advisory directs the advertisers to provide appropriate disclaimers that clearly state that such games involve financial risk and no one under 18 years of age should take part in them. The guideline will come into effect from December 15, 2020.

I&B ministry advisory to advertisers of online gaming: Key Details

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in its advisory to all private satellite TV channels that no gaming advertisement should show any person under the age of 18 years or who looks under 18 engaged in online gaming for real money winnings or even suggest that such people can play the games.

The Ministry also stated that every gaming advertisement must carry the disclaimer- "This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk."

The ministry further stated that the disclaimer should occupy no less than 20 percent of the space in the advertisement.

Further, the advertisements should not depict online gaming as a way for real money winnings or as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.

The TV channels have been further directed that the advertisements should not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.

Broadcasters directed to ensure ads do not promote activity prohibited by law

The I&B Ministry also issued an advisory to all private satellite TV channels on advertisements, directing them to ensure that advertisements, in general, do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law.

Background

The advisory was issued after it was brought to notice of the I&B Ministry that a large number of advertisements on online gaming, fantasy sports have been appearing on television. There were concerns that such advertisements appear to be misleading, do not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and risks associated with the games and therefore are not in strict conformity with the Advertising Code stated under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

To address the same, the I&B Ministry along with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had convened a stakeholders consultative meeting on November 18, 2020. News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF),Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and  Online Rummy Federation (ORF) were invited for discussion on the occasion and after consultation it was decided that the ASCI will issue appropriate guidelines to ensure that the advertisements are transparent and protect consumers.

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