Despite the efforts of the central government to curb illegal betting and gambling platforms along with their promotions, they are still operating and promoting themselves with impunity. Moreover, the celebrities do not seem to be bothered about the illegality of the platforms and their promotions, and are still signing sponsoring agreements with them.
The latest to do so are former South African cricketer AB de Villiers and Indian actress Pooja Hegde who have teamed up as brand ambassadors for SuperWin, another illegal offshore betting platform operating in India without a licence.
While this seems like a first for Hegde, De Villiers has also partnered with other illegal offshore betting firms like Fairplay and 22BET in the past.
Hegde says about her association with the illegal betting platform that “it is inspiring to be a part of a vibrant community that makes sports so interactive”. Whether or not she is aware of the illegality of the platform and promotions is highly suspected from this statement. However, it is expected that she should be.
Illegal gambling website advertisements involving celebrities have been skyrocketing as the platforms are even opting to hire local celebrities to promote their illegal activity.
Meanwhile, an IIM Rohtak study last year concluded that celebrity advertisements have more likelihood of attracting users to take part in illegal betting activities. “Celebrity endorsement, i.e., the use of attractive, trustworthy, and familiar celebrities for advertising online gambling applications, was found to have a statistically significant impact on the propensity to gamble among youth,” the report said.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued its fourth advisory recently, warning cable TV, print media, OTT platforms and celebrities not to promote these illegal betting firms as they can cause heavy financial harm to individuals.
As of now, the framework to regulate the online gaming industry is still being prepared. As per the new online gaming rules, the new framework will presumably put an end to these illegal betting firms.
People unsure of which platforms are illegal can check the list here.