Despite being illegal in India, online gambling is increasingly popular among locals. Some brands are so popular that they are being advertised on official TV channels, in breach of the country’s rules. As a result, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has once again asked media companies to block such content.
India’s Ministry of Information Wants to Stop Illegal Ads
While some Indian states allow certain types of skill-based games, online gambling is prohibited in India. Despite that, there is a high black market activity with locals regularly playing with offshore iGaming brands.
Some of the most popular unlicensed operators in the country include sites such as 1xBet, Betway, Fairplay, Parimatch and Wolf 777, among others, whose content is even promoted on local TV channels and online streaming platforms.
According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, these sites surreptitiously abuse the system by purposefully targeting local players, despite knowing that online gambling is illegal in the country. The authority noted that these operators use news websites as surrogates to promote their content. It added that the news websites in question also lack an Indian registration.
The Black Market Content Is Harmful
The Ministry warned private TV channels and online news outlets about the problematic gambling ads. It pointed out that such content is dangerous to vulnerable people and children and should be taken down. It also asked marketing affiliates to be mindful of the local regulations and not target the Indian market with unlicensed gambling content. The Ministry reasserted that online gambling and sports betting sites are illegal across the larger part of India and so are their surrogate sites.
The authority also noted that local TV channels and online news outlets that breach the gambling rules and promote unlicensed sites or link to their surrogate news websites, will be subject to various fines and penalties. The Ministry concluded that the promotion of unlicensed gambling is a threat to the local economy and is to be taken seriously.
The All India Gaming Federation, India’s apex industry body for online skill gaming, thanked the government for cracking down on unlicensed gambling sites that hurt the legal skill-based market. The union’s chief executive, Roland Landers, vowed to continue monitoring the sector. Landers promised to report all irregularities to the Ministry to ensure a healthier skill-based market.
In June, the Ministry released a similar warning and once again noted that local media outlets, including TV broadcasters, newspapers and digital content creators should not promote illegal online gambling content.