Celebrities promoting online gambling ‘extremely irresponsible’: Sourabh Raaj

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Actor Sourabh Raaj Jain recently spoke up on the issue of celebrities promoting online gambling through social media. This is not the first time the actor has spoken up on an issue usually overlooked by others.

In his recent tweet, Jain said, “So many celebrities promoting online gaming that focuses on making easy money, I find it extremely irresponsible. So many will bear the consequences,
children….youngsters, and their parents. It’s like promoting gambling under the shield of various games.”

The problem of celebrities promoting gambling is not new; many well-known celebrities are constantly spotted promoting gambling operators. Some even promote surrogate websites for illegal offshore gambling firms that are banned by the government in India.

Last year, a study by Director Professor of IIM Rohtak, Dheeraj Sharma, revealed that young people are likelier to try out gambling when a celebrity is endorsing online gambling.

According to the survey, the more attractive or famous the celebrity is, the more likely a person will be ready to try out gambling. Although, if the celebrity also gives a statutory warning about gambling addiction, the result saw around a 50% reduction in individual gambling choices.

Celebrities endorsing online gambling are also subject to statutory liability under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 (CPA). A fine of Rs 10 and 50 lakh may be imposed on any endorser who engages in false, deceptive, or unlawful advertising.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has also established criteria stating that celebrity endorsements shouldn’t be false, misleading, or unsupported and that a celebrity should take reasonable measures to achieve this.

In addition to the fine, the endorser may be barred from appearing in any advertisements for up to one year, and for repeat offenses, a restriction of up to three years may be added. Despite this, many influencers and celebrities can openly promote online gambling websites and applications.