New Delhi, Feb 07: Even as the Indian government has banned 138 betting apps, offshore betting and casino companies are finding new avenues to advertise their illegal wares to millions of unsuspecting Indians. These platforms continue to extensively use sports teams, personalities and industry sponsorships in India. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) banned 138 betting/gambling websites and apps under section 69(A) of the IT Act, as they "were engaging in illegal money laundering & were posing threat to the financial security of our nation." 1xBet, FairPlay to Parimatch News, How Betting Sites are Using News and Sports Blogs as Surrogate to Defy Ban on Advertising Betting Platforms in India.

In 2022, The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had issued two advisories against advertisements of betting on digital media platforms and TV Channels. It had also warned against offshore betting platforms using news as a surrogate product and promoting betting in the garb of news.

Football and Kabaddi are two sports that continue to see a lot of betting companies. Stake, an online casino, is the principal partner of the ISL teams Mumbai FC and Hyderabad FC. Parimatch is the main sponsor of the football team Goa FC. The betting site, Dafa is a sponsor of the Kabaddi team Telugu Titans, while Fairplay is a partner of Jaipur Pink Panther. Bollywood star Nargis Fakhri is the brand ambassador of Betway.

The India Affiliate Summit, organised by IAMAI, has among its partners and sponsors, some of the biggest betting and casino companies including Parimatch and Rajabet.

The India Affiliate Summit billed as the "largest performance marketing event in India" will be held in October 2023. Parimatch and Khelraja were among the esteemed speakers of the 2022 summit. IAMAI had recently stated that it is most suited to form the proposed self-regulatory organisation (SRO) for online gaming.

In an interview given to Mint, the CEO of now-banned betting company Parimatch said that offshore betting companies do deposits of $ 1 billion every month or around INR one lakh crores per year.

This makes the illegal betting and casino sector bigger than the legitimate online gaming industry. According to the State of India Gaming Report by Lumikai, the Indian gaming industry saw a revenue of just USD 2.6 billion in FY 2022.

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has recently released a draft of rules for online gaming companies and invited feedback from various stakeholders. IAMAI said that the rules "are right on intention, but poor on scoping." Four of India's biggest gaming companies had in a letter to MeITY said that IAMAI did not consult them before making the statement public.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 07, 2023 02:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website