Dream11 and My11Circle skip the ASCI-mandated word “addictive” in ad disclaimers

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Real money gaming companies have become a major source of revenue for sports broadcasters in India. Be it cash-rich Indian Premier League, the T20 World Cup, bilateral cricket, or any other major sporting tournament including Olympics, real money gaming (RMG) entities like Mobile Premier League (MPL), Dream11, My11Circle, etc., are seen as prominent sponsors or advertisers. Dream11 sponsored the IPL 2020 edition after Vivo dropped from the sponsorship role for a year. MPL is the kit sponsor for the Indian cricket team.

The guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) that came into effect on December 15, 2020, require real money gaming advertisements to not be aimed at minors, not present gaming as a possible source of livelihood or link it to success.
In addition, the guidelines also require all advertisements to carry a disclaimer regarding the risk of financial loss and the addictive nature of such games in print and audio/visual formats: “This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.”

However, the samples of certain advertisements by Dream11 and My11Circles telecasted on television recently appear to be not in line with the ASCI requirements. The companies have modified the mandatory warning message (in Hindi version) to convey the message that these games can result in the formation of “habit” while the ASCI mandates to state the games are “addictive”.

The ad copies as seen by the G2G team were using the word “आदत” (aadat) while the word “लत ” (lat) must have been used. आदत means habitual while लत means addictive. It may be noted that the companies in the earlier advertisements were using the word “लत ” but are not using the word anymore.

By mere replacement of words, the message that is required to be conveyed appears to have been silently modified to benefit the gaming companies.

Earlier in February, Live Mint reported that ASCI processed 81 complaints against advertisements of various online gaming platforms after releasing guidelines related to real-money gaming. In terms of platforms, a majority of the complaints received were regarding ads on Instagram (39) and YouTube (37). The maximum number of complaints were filed against online cricket (55) and rummy (15).