Govt may issue advisory for influencers to avoid promotion of illegal offshore betting platforms

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Illegal offshore betting companies, which have infiltrated various mass media platforms, have specifically targeted OTTs and social media outlets for promotion in recent months. The government is facing criticism for lack of action against these illegal entities which pose security and financial risks to the public and the nation.

However, reports have surfaced indicating that the government is soon to issue another advisory warning social media influencers and celebrities to avoid and stop promoting illegal betting platforms. Furthermore, they are also planning to counter the promotional efforts of the illegal apps with their own awareness campaign against them involving social media influencers.

Most of these illegal entities’ advertisements comprise popular celebrities in order to create credibility. The claims made by them in the promotions are generally over-the-top and misleading.

Lotus365, Betway and 1xBet are some of the prominent illegal offshore betting platforms that were banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in February this year, but are still operating through mirror domains and promoting themselves through celebrities on social media platforms.

OTT services like Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, among others, were also previously directed to not promote surrogate brands of these illegal betting websites, but despite three advisories so far many of them are still allowing their promotions.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) did send notices to Bollywood actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Urvashi Rautela and few others for promoting illegal gambling platforms, but beyond that no action has yet been taken. Notably, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, has received more than 8000 complaints against these illegal entities since 2018, as reported by News 18.

G2G News has covered the practice of using celebrities and social media influencers by illegal offshore betting platforms extensively. More and more celebrities have come onboard to promote these illegal platforms in recent times which can be attributed to the lack of punitive action by the government so far. It remains to be seen if the next advisory brings about the intended outcome and whether the government takes more strict measures.