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Government Cracks Down on Social Media’s Hidden Gambling World: Influencers Beware!

Govt issues advisory against online betting ads on social media to safeguard youth. Learn more about the impactful decision.



India's Bold Step to Shield Youth from Online Gambling Dangers

NEW DELHI: Curbing the influence of offshore online betting and gambling platforms, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a comprehensive advisory on March 21, 2024, targeting social media influencers, endorsers, and online advertisement intermediaries. The directive cautions against the promotion of such platforms, emphasizing the potential financial and socio-economic risks they pose, particularly to the youth.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, the advisory outlined the legal frameworks and the responsibilities of social media and online advertisement intermediaries in preventing the dissemination of content related to online betting and gambling. The Ministry’s concern stems from the increased visibility of such platforms on social media, often glamorized by celebrity endorsements, which could mislead the audience into engaging in illegal or harmful activities.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) had previously raised alarms over the issue in an advisory dated March 6, 2024, pointing out the illegal nature of offshore betting and gambling platforms. The CCPA’s guidelines for the prevention of misleading advertisements and endorsements were cited, stressing the need for rigorous scrutiny of any promotional activities related to betting and gambling.

In line with the IT Act, 2000, Section 79 provides intermediaries with exemption from liability for third-party content, but with a critical caveat under Subsection (3)(b). This clause asserts that the exemption is void if the intermediary, upon notification by the government or its agencies, fails to quickly remove or disable access to unlawful content. This legislative backdrop underpins the advisory’s call for immediate action to prevent the spread of such content.

The Ministry has also empowered itself to issue notifications to social media platforms to remove or disable access to any posts, links, or branded content promoting these illegal platforms. Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in legal action under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, including the removal or disabling of social media posts or accounts and further penal repercussions.

This advisory is not only a call to action for social media influencers and advertisement intermediaries but also serves as a stern warning against the promotion of gambling activities that are not just unethical but illegal. By tightening the reins on such advertisements, the government aims to protect consumers, especially the youth, from the potential pitfalls of online betting and gambling, thereby fostering a safer digital environment for all.

For more information on the advisory, please visit the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s official website here.

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