India’s advertising watchdog has issued a new set of rules to regulate real-money gaming ads in the country.
ASCI Issues New Standards for Regulating Real Money Games
India is toughening its stance on responsible gambling and promotions in the country. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued a new set of guidelines defining responsible advertising and specifically any marketing efforts trying to promote real money gaming products.
ASCI described such advertising efforts as “high-risk” and cautioned partners to err on the side of caution lest they target audiences that may be vulnerable or not of the legal age.
According to ASIC, the organization wants to establish clear-cut rules that are summed up in a coherent framework that advertisers can then use to craft their products. However, India doesn’t have a federal law on gambling, and each of the country’s 28 autonomous states has to act on their own in regulating gambling.
ASIC did warn, however, that there has been a significant increase in the number of real-money advertising during the covid-19 pandemic and shutdowns that were enforced across the better part of the country. Even then, some residents and tourists have been ignoring covid-19 measures to participate in gambling contests.
State Governments and Operators Must Step Up
The organization insisted that autonomous regulators must ensure that any of the products advertised in such marketing efforts doesn’t target individuals under the legal age of 18. The rule applies to advertisement channels, including television, social media, and physical materials used to advertise a product.
ASIC is trying to streamline a burgeoning gaming industry by introducing all the trappings of a mature and consumer-focused market. All adverts must end with a disclaimer ‘Please Play Responsibly‘ as a reminder that gambling hides risks. Such disclaimers must be available in all forms of advertisement.
Another important aspect of the experience is to ensure that any participation in gambling contests isn’t described or styled in terms of ’employment’ or as a viable opportunity to generate income.
Presently, India has no central regulatory organ and ASIC, as a media regulator, is reaching out to parties promoting gaming parties and negotiating with them to join and adhere to the ASIC Code which promotes honesty, responsibility, fairness and decency when it comes to advertising practices in the country.
This comes in a particularly fraught context as India continues to try and crackdown on illegal online gambling. The government has given the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) additional remit to fight illicit operations.