India Imposes Restrictions on Real-Money Gambling Ads While Petition in Delhi Pushes for a Ban
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) recently released a list of guidelines for those advertising real money gambling.
The aim is to promote responsible gambling, especially during the current pandemic, which has seen a significant increase in the amount of gambling advertising.
The new guidelines include a ban on using anyone under the age of 18 in adverts, and they also prohibit gambling from being presented as a way of earning money or as an employment substitute. Furthermore, adverts must also warn players that gambling comes with financial risks and can lead to addiction.
Each of India’s 28 autonomous states has the power to set its own gaming regulations, but ASCI can set nationwide advertising standards.
The new regulations came as a petition was submitted to the Delhi High Court calling for a ban on online gambling. The petition claims that despite many states prohibiting gambling, there are still numerous websites offering gambling services within India. It further claims that the online gambling market in India is unregulated and therefore “a great place for varying out hawala operations, laundering money, etc.”
Avinash Mehrotra, a financial advisor, submitted the plea. He said that he moved a similar petition last year, but the central government informed him that it does not have the legislative powers to deal with his request to ban or block websites.
In addition to a ban on the websites, he is also seeking the recovery of taxes from people who use and operate the sites, as well as seeking a direction to the Centre to “prosecute the unscrupulous owners/proprietors, and the promoters of the online gambling websites, in accordance with law.”