13 Lok Sabha members raise joint question on illegal betting and gambling websites, MIB to respond tomorrow

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13 Lok Sabha MPs hailing from BJP, TRS, BJD, and Shiv Sena have requested a written response from the Ministry of Information Broadcasting (MIB) on illegal betting and gambling through media and online intermediaries.

The members who raised the queries are as follows:

  1. TRS – Venkatesh Netha, Ranjith Reddy, Kavitha Malothu;
  2. Shiv Sena – Shrirang Barne, Dhairyasheel Sambhajirao Mane, Sanjay Sadashivrao Mandlik, Prataprao Ganpatrao Jadhav;
  3. BJP – Bidyut Baran Mahato, Sudhir Gupta, Ravindra Kushawaha, Ravi Kishan, Subrat Pathak;
  4. BJD: Sarmistha Sethi

The queries raised are as follows:

  • Whether the Government is aware that illegal betting and gambling through media and online advertisement intermediaries is posing a serious financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers in the country particularly youth and children and if so, the details thereof;
  • Whether the Government is aware of proliferation of betting in various sports (both online and offline) in the country, if so, the details thereof and the steps taken to curb such cases in future;
  • Whether it is true that there are surrogate advertisements in all kinds of media and if so, the steps taken by the Government to stop such advertisements in future;
  • Whether the Government has issued any advisory to print, electronic and digital media asking them to refrain from advertising online betting platforms and if so, the details thereof;
  • Whether the Government proposes to bring any strict legislation to prevent such illegal betting and gambling through media and online advertisement; and (f) if so, the details thereof and the time by which such a legislation is like.

The ministry is expected to respond in written format on 19 July. The MIB has in June issued an advisory to print, electronic and digital media to refrain from advertising online betting platforms.

There have been increased instances of a number of advertisements of online betting websites/platforms appearing in print, electronic, social and online media in recent times. Last month, the Consumer Affairs ministry issued guidelines under Consumer Protection Act that prohibited surrogate advertising which is normally adopted by offshore betting websites.

All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the apex self-regulatory body for skill gaming in India has been consistently raising the issue of offshore betting websites advertising aggressively in violation of laws in India and has written to PM Modi recently. 

On 4th December 2020, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued an advisory to Private Satellite TV channels to adhere to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) guidelines on advertisements of online gaming which contained specific Do’s and Dont’s for print and audio-visual advertisements of online gaming.

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