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Don’t promote illegal gambling, CCPA tells Indian celebrities, influencers


India’s consumer watchdog has issued an advisory warning celebrities and online influencers in the country against promoting illegal gambling.

The move by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) comes amidst growing concerns surrounding the surge in advertisements promoting betting and gambling in the country, and the authority made it clear that severe actions would be taken against those found endorsing illegal activities.

An official statement released by the CCPA stated, ‘In light of the escalating prevalence of advertisements advocating illegal activities like betting and gambling, the CCPA has issued a comprehensive advisory.’

The advisory, in alignment with the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, emphasizes the prohibition of advertising, promoting, and endorsing unlawful activities that are outlawed under various legislation.

“Betting and gambling are strictly forbidden under the Public Gambling Act of 1867, and are deemed illegal in the majority of regions across the nation. Nevertheless, online betting platforms and applications persist in advertising betting and gambling overtly, and sometimes covertly under the pretext of gaming,” the CCPA highlighted.

The watchdog emphasized that the endorsement of such activities carries significant financial and socioeconomic repercussions, especially for the younger demographic. The warning further echoes the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s endeavors in issuing multiple advisories to media platforms, warning them against publicizing betting and gambling platforms.

‘Online advertisement intermediaries have also been cautioned against targeting such advertisements towards the Indian audience,’ the statement added.

The advisory underscored that the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022, explicitly prohibit advertisements of products or services banned under any prevailing law.

‘The guidelines encompass all advertisements, irrespective of the medium used, and cautions celebrities and influencers that any involvement in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status, renders one equally liable for engaging in an illegal activity,’ the CCPA asserted.

Through this advisory, the CCPA warned that any advertisement or endorsement of activities prohibited by law, including but not limited to betting or gambling, would undergo rigorous scrutiny.

‘If any violation of the guidelines is detected, stringent measures, as per the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, will be initiated against those involved, including manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, endorsers, and any other pertinent stakeholders,’ the statement warned.

The CCPA urged all stakeholders to strictly adhere to these guidelines and refrain from promoting or endorsing activities that contravene Indian law.

Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel is an online gambling industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in Europe and Asia. Equally at home in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, he started his career as a sports trader before setting up and running whole operations, and more recently focusing on the regulatory and licensing side of things in the worlds of fiat and crypto eGaming. When he is not writing about gambling topics, he can be found cycling around Manila and advocating sustainable transport solutions for a Philippines based mobility magazine.