Govt owned DD Sports promotes surrogate betting websites during WI vs. India ODI telecast

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The guidelines under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 released last month, defined “surrogate advertisement” as an advertisement for goods, products or services, whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law, by circumventing such prohibition or restriction and portraying it to be an advertisement for other goods, product or service, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law. These guidelines prohibit surrogate advertisements.

Betting is prohibited in the country and therefore cannot be advertised openly. To bypass this, advertisers create surrogate ads that help in building a brand and often involve popular celebrities – all without naming or referring to the actual product that is being indirectly advertised. For example, the betting website Dafabet uses Dafa.News, 1xbet uses, PariMatch uses

Despite regulations and notifications in recent times, broadcasters Sony and FanCode were seen promoting surrogate betting websites. Now what is even more shocking is DD Sports which is owned and operated by Prasar Bharati openly promoting surrogate betting websites during the ongoing West Indies vs. India ODI series.

DD Sports is the free-to-air television broadcaster for the ongoing India tour of the West Indies. FanCode went for TV + Digital rights for the ongoing series but decided to stream digitally only.

DD Sports is under the control and supervision of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which is nodal ministry for broadcasting in the country.

As per a report on InsideSports, the rates on DD Sports are Rs 3 lakh for a spot on ODIs and Rs 5 lakh for the Twenty20 Internationals. Vin Global Media is the sales agent that is selling the series on DD Sports to advertisers. DD Sports is seen promoting FairPlayNews and AVR Play, both surrogate betting websites.

When 13 Lok Sabha members posed questions on the penetration of illegal gambling and betting advertisements this week, the government gave a robotic response stating all necessary regulations and advisories are in place.

So far all regulations appear to be talk only with online betting and gambling advertisements continuing to be unabated. Now with DD also openly violating the laws in favour of surrogate betting websites, it creates a doubt if the entire illegal betting and gambling sector is so intertwined into the country’s economy and politics.

More than a month after guidelines under Consumer Protection Act, 2019, top actors and cricketers also continue to promote illegal offshore betting websites and encourage or abet money-laundering and tax evasion by illegal and unlicensed online betting platforms because they are aware no action will be taken despite regulations in place.