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India Cautions Celebrities Promoting Offshore Gambling

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India has cautioned celebrities and influencers about promoting offshore online operators on social media.

According to the ministry advisory, individuals with influence in India are not allowed to promote illegal gambling operators indirectly.

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The advisory underscored the "significant financial and socio-economic consequences of online betting" as reasons not to endorse offshore operators. Those who violate this rule may face "rigorous scrutiny" and other potential penalties.

In the existing framework, the Indian government can send notifications to intermediaries, including social media platforms, to take down posts promoting illegal gambling sites.

Additionally, celebrities and influencers promoting gambling could be subjected to proceedings under the 2019 Consumer Protection Act, which can result in the deactivation of social media accounts. Further penalties may be imposed under relevant laws.

CCPA Issued Similar Directive

The ministry's advisory is the latest in a number of directives the government of India has circulated on this matter. Social media platforms have also been warned on several occasions to desist from targeting Indians in the promotion of betting sites. Non-skill-based gambling remains illegal in most regions of India under the Public Gambling Act 1867.

Earlier this month, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA issued a similar advisory against celebrity advertising. The warning followed a noticeable increase in influencer marketing promoting illegal gambling.

The CCPA stated that influencers promoting gambling create the view that betting is allowed, regardless of its legality. It emphasized that celebrities are equally accountable for the violation.

More Regulation News

New Rules for Indian Gambling Market

In January 2023, the Indian government published new rules to regulate online gambling in its region. The regulations focused on safeguarding players against gambling harm, combating addiction, and preventing financial crime. Most importantly, it created provisions for establishing "self-regulatory bodies" comprising online gaming businesses to create rules for online gambling.

India Forecasts $1.7bn Gambling Revenue in 2025

Last month, the government announced its expectations of achieving up to 140 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) in goods and services tax (GST) on gambling in the region for the 2025 trading year.

The government arrived at the estimates after introducing a new gambling levy at the end of 2023, which increased GST revenue. It expects to collect 75 billion rupees from the tax for the current year, up from 16 billion rupees in a year-on-year comparison.

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