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India cracks down against celebrities who promote offshore gambling

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India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting warned Indian celebrities and social media influencers to refrain from advertising online offshore operators. They could be penalized for this.

In its advisory, the ministry explained that it is against Indian law for those who have influence to advertise illegal gambling operators by using a substitute. Anyone who does so risks “rigorous inspection”.

The Indian government has the power to issue notifications, such as to social media platforms or intermediaries to block access to ads for illegal operators.

Celebrities and influencers may also be subject to proceedings based on the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. Social media accounts could be disabled and further penalties can be taken under the applicable laws.

This advisory cited “significant socio-economic and financial implications” of offshore betting as reasons to not promote them.

CCPA warnings celebrities about gambling advertisements

Earlier in the month, Central Consumer Protection Authority published a warning against celebrity marketing. Influencer marketing for illegal gambling has been on the rise.

This was just the most recent of many government advisory on this topic. Social media platforms have received multiple warnings against the promotion and use of betting sites. Public Gambling Act of 1867 makes it illegal for non-skilled gambling to be conducted in most Indian regions.

The CCPA said that people with a lot of influence who market gambling create the perception that it is okay to bet, even if betting is illegal. Celebrities are therefore “equally responsible” for this offence.

India’s gambling market

In January 2011, the Indian government released new regulations to regulate online gaming. It stated, “Any online games offered must not violate existing laws.”

There were also proposals for the creation of self-regulatory organizations, which would include online gaming companies and be responsible for creating regulations. The focus was also on protecting players, dealing with addictions, stopping financial crimes and safeguarding kids.

A recent study revealed that only a small percentage of internet gamblers were “fully aware” of the industry’s regulations, and they ran the risk of using operators who weren’t regulated.

According to the study by Ken Research, entitled Consumer Behaviour Analyses for Online Gambling Industry of India, more than one-quarter of Indian online gamblers experience serious issues, from fraud and identity theft, to problems with transactions.

In November, as part of its crackdown on illegal offshore operators and betting websites, the Indian Government issued blocking orders against 22 apps.

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