T20 World Cup: Star and Hotstar go mute on betting ads, gambling platforms shift to Facebook and Instagram

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The India–Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. When it is in a global tournament like the ICC world cup, it offers the best media placement opportunity for marketers.

In the last 18 months or so, brands Fairplay, Dafabet, Parimatch, 1XBet, and Betway, all illegal offshore gambling entities occupied prime advertising slots in sports broadcasts. In the recently concluded Asia Cup when India and Pakistan met gambling websites brazenly and aggressively promoted illegal offerings with prime slots. Broadcasters preferred revenues over compliance with the laws.

Fast forward a month, Star and Hotstar the broadcasters for the ongoing T20 World Cup went mute on the gambling and betting websites. Even sports website Cricbuzz turned off illegal gambling websites.

All this change is due to multiple government actions this month. Betting and gambling are illegal in India including online offshore websites. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued advisories to broadcasters and digital media twice this year – once in June and the second time earlier this month.

In the second advisory, MIB even identified advertisements in the media sector in violation of laws with blatant disregard for the first notification. Star, Sony continued promotions of surrogate betting firms even after the June 2022 MIB notification. Revocation of a broadcast license is a big threat that broadcasters could face in promoting gambling websites.

This followed a CCPA action, asking offshore websites to refrain from carrying advertisements on online betting sites. Earlier, we reported that the Central Government invoked the provisions of the Information Technology Act, of 2000 to ban illegal gambling websites.

Offshore websites finding no spot during the T20 World Cup is a welcome move with the government’s action bearing fruits. But offshore gambling platforms continued promotions using social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The government is now required to take appropriate action against Meta-owned properties to curb the menace.