Increase in offshore gambling firm adverts in last two years

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Offshore gambling firms under the radar of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) were allegedly found posing as sports as sports websites while promoting their online gaming for stakes in India through substitute ads on various OTT and TV platforms are now operating at a scale one can only imagine.

According to data from TAM for up to the first week of October, the ads for these so-called “sports news,” which are basically a front for these offshore gambling firms, have seen a growth of about 20 times in the last two years through televisions and a 14 times increase in digital mediums.

The I&B has recently released an advisory on October 3 not to promote offshore gambling firms like Fairplay News, PariMatch, Betway, Wolf 777 and 1xBet as they allegedly promote gambling in India with sports news front even when gambling is prohibited in most states.

Before that, in early June this year, the I&B issued an advisory saying, “Attention is invited to the advisory dated 13.06.2022 to publishers of news and current affairs content on digital media advising them to refrain from publishing advertisements of online betting platforms on online and social media. The online advertisement intermediaries were also advised not to target such advertisements toward the Indian audience. The advisory had been issued because betting and gambling are prohibited in most pans of the country and pose a significant financial and socio-economic risk for consumers, especially youth and children. Accordingly, promoting offline or online betting/gambling through advertisements is not advised in the larger public interest”.

CEO of the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Roland Landers, also estimated that these companies are spending around 3500 crore in ads and about 500 crore in celebrity endorsements. Reports from AIGF suggest that these firms entered Indian markets only a few years ago, yet their illegal offshore gambling business has grown into a 5 lakh crore business in the country.