Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports etc. The Ministry has advised broadcasters to adhere to the guidelines issues by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The Ministry has also said that the advertisements should not promote any activity prohibited by statute or law.

Why the Advisory?

It had come to the notice of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that a large number of advertisements on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, etc. appear on the television now. Concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be

- Misleading

- Fail to clearly convey about financial and other risks associated there of

- are NOT in strict conformity with the Advertising Code laid down under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Mandatory Warning Message

Due to the above-stated concerns, ASCI issued guidelines which require that every such gaming advertisement must carry the following disclaimer: 'This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk”. Online Gaming and Fantasy Sports Advertisements Shouldn't be Misleading, Says Prakash Javadekar; Advisory Issued by I&B Ministry.

Such a disclaimer should occupy at least 20% of the advertisement space. The guidelines also state that gaming advertisements cannot depict users under the age of 18 years as engaged in playing a game of “online gaming for real money winnings” or suggest that such users can play these games.

No ad to give "Income-Generating" Impression

The guidelines also make it clear that the advertisements should neither suggest that online gaming presents an income-generating opportunity as an alternative to employment nor depict a person playing such games is more successful than others. I&B Ministry Issues Advisory for Advertisers for Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports on TV.

Stakeholder Consultative Meeting

A stakeholder consultative meeting was convened by Ministry of I&B along with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the IT Ministry with the officials and representatives of ASCI, News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), and the Online Rummy Federation (ORF).

It was then agreed that ASCI would issue an appropriate guideline to ensure that ads are transparent and protect consumers. The guideline would be effective from 15th December 2020.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 05, 2020 08:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).