New Delhi: The Centre on Friday (December 4, 2020) issued an advisory on advertisements on online gaming, fantasy sports, etc and directed broadcasters to ensure that ads on online gaming and fantasy sports do not promote activity prohibited by statute or law.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, along with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology held a meeting on November 18 with Advertising Standards Council of India (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) and agreed that ASCI would issue an appropriate guideline for the benefit of the advertisers and broadcasters to ensure that the advertisements are transparent and protect consumers.
Following the meeting, the guidelines were issued by the ASCI on November 24, which will come into effect from December 15.
"All broadcasters are advised that the guidelines issued by ASCI are complied with and advertisements broadcast on television adhere to the guidelines of the ASCI. It may also be ensured that advertisements do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law," said Centre.
The official statement read, "It had come to the notice of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that a large number of advertisements on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, etc have been appearing on television. Concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading, do not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and other risks associated thereof, are not in strict conformity with the Advertising Code laid down under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019."
As per the advisory, no gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years, or who appears to be under the age of 18, engaged in playing a game of online gaming for real winnings or suggest that such persons can play these games.
Every such gaming advertisement must also carry the following disclaimer:
a. Print/static: This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.
i. Such a disclaimer should occupy no less than 20% of the space in the advertisement.
ii. It should also specifically meet disclaimer guidelines 4 (i) (ii) (iv) and (viii) laid out in the ASCI code.
b. Audio/video: This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.
i. Such a disclaimer must be placed in normal speaking pace at the end of the advertisement.
ii. It must be in the same language as the advertisement.
iii. For audio-visual mediums, the disclaimer needs to be in both audio and visual formats.
The advertisements should not present ‘Online gaming for real money winnings’ as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option. The advertisement should also not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.