In early October, the Ministry of I&B released an advisory against promotion of betting apps through TV and digital ads.
Betting ads on television and digital media platforms dropped by 65% and 56% respectively in October, as compared to September, according to a recent TAM AdEx report.
This comes just after the government's advisory on betting platforms. On October 3, 2022, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) issued an advisory to online news websites, OTT platforms and private TV channels to refrain from publishing or broadcasting ads of online betting platforms or any surrogate product depicting them.
The government observed that recently, several sports channels and OTT platforms have been showing ads of offshore online betting platforms as well as their surrogate news websites, such as FairPlay, Parimatch, Betway, Wolf 777 and 1xBet.
What will be the impact on betting apps, if they aren’t allowed to advertise?
Shivaji Dasgupta, an autonomous writer on brands and customer centricity, says, "The betting industry is poised to suffer the most, as the platforms will be unable to garner both category-level and brand-specific awareness. This will certainly hamper the credibility of this industry, as a certain sense of legal legitimacy and ethical assurance comes with the placement of ads on mainstream media."
Vivek Bhargava, co-founder, ProfitWheel, shares, "The biggest challenge involves foreign betting apps that are advertising to Indian users on foreign websites. This needs to be curbed because Indian companies follow the law of the land, while foreign ones can advertise real money betting apps and get off scot-free."
"As long as betting ads are profitable and legal, they must continue. Until advertising performs are legally allowed in India, betting platforms should not pull out of their ads."
On one hand, betting is mostly illegal in India, on the other, experts observe that betting apps are on the top of advertisers’ list. As per TAM data, Fairplay News has topped the digital ad market, with a 54% share, and Parimatch News on TV, with 99% share, between January and October 2022.
Before the advisory was out, companies were placing bets on surrogate advertising to promote themselves. Betting platforms were masquerading themselves as sports news platforms and using influencers to promote ads.
If betting ads are banned, then what will be the impact on influencers?
Neel Gogia, co-founder, IPLIX Media, comments, “The ban on betting apps will have a temporary impact on the income of creators. At this juncture, betting apps aren’t the main source of revenue for influencers. If betting apps are banned, then the gap will soon be filled by other brands. In my opinion, only some creators (10-15%) will get impacted. However, a majority won’t even feel the difference."
Dasgupta says, "From a media point of view, this ban will certainly tantamount to revenue impact. Brands in other categories don't have to worry about appearing next to such ads, as consumers will know that it’s a media call and not a brand choice."