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Introduction: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has responded to the surge in advertisements promoting illegal activities, particularly betting and gambling. The advisory, aligned with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, aims to curb the advertising, promotion, and endorsement of unlawful activities, emphasizing the consequences for violators.

Detailed Analysis:

1. Legal Context:

  • Betting and gambling are explicitly prohibited under the Public Gambling Act, 1867, and are deemed illegal in most regions of India.
  • The advisory addresses the rampant promotion of online betting platforms, often camouflaged as gaming, causing significant socio-economic implications, especially among the youth.

2. Ministry’s Efforts:

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued several advisories, cautioning media platforms against publicizing betting and gambling.
  • Online advertisement intermediaries have been warned against targeting such advertisements to the Indian audience.

3. Celebrity and Influencer Endorsements:

  • Notably, the advisory highlights the utilization of celebrities and influencers to endorse and promote betting activities.
  • Celebrities are cautioned that their endorsement may convey an impression of acceptability, emphasizing their equal liability for participating in an illegal activity.

4. Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements:

  • The advisory refers to the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022.
  • These guidelines explicitly prohibit advertisements of products or services prohibited under any prevailing law.

CCPA Advisory Ban on Illegal Gambling Advertisements

5. Rigorous Scrutiny and Stringent Measures:

  • The CCPA cautions that any advertisement or endorsement of activities prohibited by law, including betting and gambling, will undergo rigorous scrutiny.
  • Stringent measures, as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, will be initiated against violators, encompassing manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, celebrities, influencers, endorsers, and other relevant stakeholders.

Conclusion: The CCPA’s advisory serves as a decisive move to combat the rise in illegal gambling advertisements. With a focus on enforcing existing laws and guidelines, the authority emphasizes that any involvement in promoting or endorsing illegal activities, especially by celebrities, will lead to severe consequences. The call to adhere strictly to these guidelines is a collective effort to protect consumers and maintain ethical standards in advertising and endorsements. Stakeholders are urged to comply to avoid legal repercussions outlined in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Access the full advisory

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Central Consumer Protection Authority issues advisory on Prohibition of Advertising, Promotion, and Endorsement of Illegal Activities

Betting and Gambling are strictly prohibited

Stringent action against Endorsements of Betting and Gambling Camouflaged as Gaming

CCPA Cautions Celebrities and Influencers that promoting online gambling and betting holds equal liability for Illegal activity

Posted On: 06 MAR 2024 2:41PM by PIB Delhi

In response to increasing instances of advertisements promoting illegal activities such as betting and gambling, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued a comprehensive advisory. The advisory, in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, emphasizes the prohibition of advertising, promotion, and endorsement of unlawful activities prohibited under various laws.

Betting and gambling are strictly prohibited under the Public Gambling Act, 1867, and are considered illegal in the majority of regions across the country. Despite this, online betting platforms and apps persist in advertising betting and gambling directly, as well as under the guise of gaming. Endorsements of such activities presents considerable financial and socio-economic implications, especially to the youth.

The advisory underscores the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s efforts in issuing various advisories to media platforms, cautioning them against publicizing betting and gambling platforms. Online advertisement intermediaries have also been warned against targeting such advertisements toward the Indian audience.

The advisory highlights that, the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022, categorically prohibit advertisements of products or services prohibited under any prevailing law.

It reiterates that the guidelines apply to all advertisements, irrespective of the medium used and warns celebrities and influencers that any engagement in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status, renders one equally liable for participating in an illegal activity.

Through this advisory, CCPA cautions that any advertisement or endorsement of activities which are otherwise prohibited by law, including but not limited to betting or gambling, shall be subject to rigorous scrutiny. If any violation of the guidelines is found, stringent measures, as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, will be initiated against involved, including manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, endorsers, and any other relevant stakeholders.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority urges all stakeholders to adhere strictly to these guidelines and refrain from promoting or endorsing activities that are illegal under Indian law.

CCPA-1/1/2024-CCPA

Central Consumer Protection Authority

Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi
Dated 6 March 2024

Subject: Advisory in terms of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 on Prohibition of Advertising, Promotion, and Endorsement of unlawful activities prohibited under various laws

It has come to the notice of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) that there are increasing instances of direct as well as surrogate advertisement and endorsements of activities considered illegal such as betting or gambling.

2. Betting and gambling are prohibited under the Public Gambling Act 1867 and considered illegal in most regions across the country. Advertisement of online betting platforms and apps promotes an activity that is predominantly banned and carries significant financial and socio-economic implications on consumers, particularly the youth.

3. Further, in this regard Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has already issued various advisories [No. DM/15/2022-DM dated 13.06.2022, 03.10.2022, 06.04.2023 and 25.08.2023. available at

https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/Advisory%20dated%2025.08.2023%20with%20enclosures.pdf

https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/Advisory%20to%20Private%20Satellite%20TV%20Channels%2003.10.2022.pdf

https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/06.04.2023%20Advisory%20on%20Betting%20Advertisements.pdf

https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/Advisory%20on%20online%20betting%20advertisements%2013.06.2022%282%29_0.pdf

warning media platforms against promoting betting and gambling platforms. The online advertisement intermediaries have also been advised not to target such advertisements towards the Indian audience.

4. It has come to our attention that betting platforms are employing celebrities and influencers to endorse and promote their betting activities. Consequently endorsement by celebrities gives an impression that indulging in such activity is acceptable.

5. Engaging in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status in majority of the states, renders one equally liable for participating in an illegal activity. Hence, celebrities and influencers are advised to refrain from endorsing and promoting illegal betting and gambling activities.

6. The Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 categorically prohibits advertisements of products or services that are prohibited from being produced, sold, or provided under any law for the time being in force.

Clause 9 of Guidelines on Prevention of Misleading Advertisements provides as under:

Advertisements prohibited by law. — In addition to the prohibited advertisements as set out in these guidelines, no advertisement shall be permitted which is designed, produced and published in respect of goods, products or services which are prohibited from being produced, sold or provided or which are prohibited from being advertised under any law for the time being in force or under any rules or regulations made thereunder

7. It is to be noted that what is expressly prohibited under other prevalent laws is also prohibited under Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 which applies to all advertisements regardless of medium. (Cable TV, Online, Digital Media, print Media etc)

8. Accordingly, it is hereby cautioned that any advertisement or endorsement, whether directly or indirectly, of activities which are otherwise prohibited by law, including but not limited to betting or gambling, through advertisements or promotions, shall be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

9. In case the aforementioned guidelines are violated, stringent measures as per the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 shall be initiated against the entire spectrum encompassing manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, celebrities, influencers, endorsers, and any other relevant stakeholders.

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