Government asks private television channels to follow ASCI guidelines on online gaming and fantasy sports. All such advertisements must carry mandatory warning message.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory asking all private television broadcasters to follow guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for advertisements relating to online gaming, fantasy sports etc. The Ministry has advised that the advertisements should not promote any activity prohibited by statute or law.

“It has come to the notice of Ministry of I&B that a large number of advertisements on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, etc have been appearing on the television. Concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading, do not correctly convey to the customers 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” the advisory said.

The advisory has been issued after a consultation meeting held by the I&B Ministry with the officials and representatives of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, ASCI, News Broadcasters Association, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, All India Gaming Federation, Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports, and the Online Rummy Federation.

ASCI guidelines require that every such gaming advertisement must carry the following disclaimer: ‘This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk”. Such a disclaimer should occupy at least 20% of the advertisement space.  The guidelines also state that gaming advertisements cannot depict users under the age of 18 years as engaged in playing a game of “online gaming for real money winnings” or suggest that such users can play these games. The advertisements should neither suggest that online gaming presents an income generating opportunity as an alternative to employment nor depict a person playing such games is more successful than others.

The Advertising Standards Council of India, established in 1985, is a Mumbai based self-regulatory voluntary organization of the advertising industry in India. It seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation.  Under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 it is mandatory for television networks to follow the advertising code laid down by ASCI.

No. 4407/13/2019-BC-I
Government of India
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
A Wing, Shastri Bhavan
New Delhi — 110 001

Dated the 4th December, 2020

To

All Private Satellite TV Channels

Subject: Advisory on Advertisements on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, etc.

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. Accordingly, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, alongwith the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology convened a stakeholders consultative meeting on 18.11.2020 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).

2. After discussion and consultation it was 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. Through a Press Release of 24.11.2020 ASCI has issued the Guidelines, a copy of which is enclosed. ASCI has proposed that these Guidelines would be effective from 15th December, 2020.

3. In the light of the above, all broadcasters are advised that the Guidelines issued by ASCI are complied with and advertisements broadcast on television adhere to the aforementioned Guidelines of ASCI. It may also be ensured that advertisements do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law.

This issues with the approval of the Competent Authority.

Encl: As above.

(G.C. Aron)
Director (BC)
Tel. 23386394

Copy to:

1. Manisha Kapoor, Secretary General, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI, 717/B, Aurus Chamber, SS Amrutwar Marg, Worli, Mumbai —400018. ([email protected], [email protected])

2. Annie Joseph, Secretary General, News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Mantee House, C-56/5, 3rd Floor Sector-62, Noida, Uttar Pradesh-201301. (nbaRnbanewdelhil.com)

3. Shri Radhakrishanan, Secretary, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), B-304, Ansal Plaza, 3rd Floor, Khelgaon Marg, New Delhi-110049. ([email protected])

4. All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), 928, 9th Floor, Unit No. 9, Corporate Park-II, Near Swastik Chambers, V.N Purav Marg, Mumbai — 400071 (r[email protected])

5. Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), 1901, A-Wing, Naman Midtown, Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone-West Mumbai, Mumbai -400013. ([email protected])

6. The Online Rummy Federation (ORF), 011/A, Keral Town, B-J, Patel Road, Malad West, Mumbai-400064 ([email protected])

GUIDELINES ON ONLINE GAMING ISSUED BY
ADVERTISING STANDARDS COUNCIL OF INDIA (ASCI) ON 24.11.2020
(EFFECTIVE FROM 15TII DECEMBER, 2020)

1. 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 MONEY WINNINGS, or suggest that such persons can play these games.

2. Every such gaming advertisement must 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

3. The advertisements should not present ‘Online gaming for real money winnings’ as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.

4. The advertisement should not suggest that a person engaged in gaining activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.

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