MeitY provides 48 hours to banned betting and gambling websites to prove legitimacy

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According to a senior government official, banned betting and gambling websites and Chinese loan apps have been given 48 hours by the IT ministry to prove if they are genuine.

A senior IT ministry official with the knowledge of the situation said, as quoted by The Telegraph, “The ban has been imposed on the platforms because their businesses were not genuine. Why would there be any ban if they were genuine? Action has been taken on them.”

A total of 138 betting and gambling websites were part of the blocking orders from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently as a result of an emergency request made by a nodal officer of the home ministry.

Among these were some of the most notorious offshore betting websites that were not only promoting gambling and betting, which is illegal in the country, but also acting as a front for money laundering.

These websites included Dafabet, Betway, 1xBet and Lotus365 which use surrogate advertisement and promotion methods to redirect users to their gambling websites.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcast (I&B Ministry) has sent several advisories to online OTT and cable TV service providers not to air the advertisements of these surrogate websites. After the crackdown on TV and social media advertisements was implemented, these illegal betting websites turned to traditional methods like print advertisements and sponsoring overseas sports leagues and teams with potential for their popularity in India.

These websites were also infamous for jumping to different domains multiple times to bypass the ban. Many states have also asked for a ban on these websites as several reports of people losing their money using these offshore websites have surfaced.

According to the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) these websites spend over Rs. 3500 crore annually on advertising across multiple channels, and an additional Rs. 500 crore as celebrity endorsement fees for their surrogate brands.