Adani, Ambani, and Modi all have a common thing: illegal online gambling websites

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PM Modi is often accused by the opposition parties of favouring Ambani and Adani. All three of them have Gujarati roots. Apart from this, all three of them now have another thing in common – illegal gambling websites.

Websites with the names Ambani Book, Adani Book, and NaMo Book are promising huge returns to unsuspecting users misusing the brand names of illustrious business houses and the country’s Prime Minister.

Online gambling and betting websites are illegal in India but have seen a surge in recent times with shady business structuring to avoid legal consequences. Ministry of Information Technology last month clarified to the Parliament that online gambling is illegal in the country.  But the Indian government or state governments have failed to take any action against the mushrooming fake websites. Government’s inaction now led to names of India’s richest been misused.

Last month, we have reported of DD Sports, a part of state broadcaster Prasar Bharati, telecasting advertisements of surrogate betting websites in violation of guidelines issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the rules issues under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

In a RTI Reply, Prasar Bharati has disclosed that it infact broadcasted ads and bugs related to FairPlay and AVR Play but denied they are surrogate betting and online casino websites.  The non-action by authorities now creates a doubt on the connivance of officials of at all levels in the government in promoting illegal betting websites.

In the latest advisory released in June, against ads promoting online betting websites/platforms in print, electronic and digital media, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asked the media platforms to refrain from promoting gambling websites. However, Instagram accounts, although have millions of followers do not come under the ambit of the said circular as they are not in the business of news media.

In June, the Consumer Affairs ministry issued guidelines under Consumer Protection Act that prohibited surrogate advertising which is normally adopted by offshore betting websites. The guidelines and regulations issued under the Consumer Protection Act are applicable to celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Urfi Javed, and Aparshakti Khurana who promote illegal websites.