afaqs! news bureau

MIB urges social media influencers not to endorse offshore online betting & gambling platforms

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting emphasises the negative impact these activities can have on consumers, particularly the youth.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a directive urging endorsers and influencers active on social media platforms to abstain from promoting or advertising offshore online betting and gambling platforms, including surrogate advertisements. The Ministry highlights the substantial financial and socio-economic impacts that online betting and gambling can have on consumers, especially the youth.

Furthermore, the Ministry has advised online advertisement intermediaries against directing such promotional content to Indian audiences. Social media intermediaries have also been encouraged to engage in sensitisation efforts among their users to discourage the dissemination of such content.

As mentioned in the directive, “The advisory cautions that failure to comply with it may lead to proceedings under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 including removal or disabling of social media posts or accounts and penal action under the applicable statutes.”

The advisory underscores the provisions of Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000, which grants intermediaries exemption from liability for third-party information, data, or communication links hosted by them. However, it highlights Subsection (3)(b) of Section 79, which states that this exemption does not apply if the intermediary, upon receiving actual knowledge or notification from the appropriate Government or its agency, fails to promptly remove or disable access to unlawful material residing in or connected to a computer resource controlled by the intermediary, without tampering with the evidence in any way.

The Ministry has restated the advisory issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on March 6, 2024, which voiced apprehensions about celebrities and influencers endorsing betting/gambling platforms to promote their betting activities. It warned that any form of direct or indirect advertisement or endorsement in this regard would be closely scrutinised.

In India, betting apps often collaborate with celebrities to enhance their visibility. For instance, in June 2022,, a prominent poker platform, enlisted actor Shahid Kapoor as its brand ambassador with the aim of popularising and raising awareness about poker among the general public.

Likewise, Khelraja, an online casino and sports betting app based in Southeast Asia, appointed actor Esha Gupta as its brand ambassador in December 2022 to promote the app's sportsbook and casino offerings through various digital and offline marketing channels.

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