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I&B Ministry issues advisory to broadcasters on online gaming, fantasy sports ads

I&B Ministry issues advisory to broadcasters on online gaming, fantasy sports ads

Earlier, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had released guidelines for online gaming and fantasy sports advertisements to all broadcasters

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to all broadcasters to ensure that advertisements for online gaming and fantasy sports are not misleading to the consumers. Earlier, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had released guidelines for online gaming and fantasy sports advertisements to all broadcasters. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar in a tweet said that the advisory has been issued to "protect consumers' interest".

The advisory notes that the ministry had noticed that advertisements for online gaming, fantasy sports, etc, that have been appearing on television. The ministry says that concerns were raised that these did not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and other risks associated with online games and fantasy sports. "They are not in strict conformity with the Advertising Code laid down under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Consumer Protection Act 2019," read the ministry's advisory.

In consultation with the ministry, the ASCI on November 24 had issued guidelines to ensure that the advertisements for online gaming and fantasy sports are transparent and protect consumers. The guidelines will come into effect from December 15. The guidelines were attached to the advisory Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued.

According to the guidelines, print ads on online games and fantasy sports are required to carry a disclaimer that says "playing these games may involve financial risk and can be addictive". The disclaimer should not occupy less than 20% of the space of the entire print ad. Audio-visual and audio ads must also run a disclaimer. The disclaimer should be placed after the ads and must be in the same language as the advertisement.

The guidelines also state that no gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years engaged in playing online games and winning real money or even suggest that such a person can even play these games. The guidelines also say that any person who even appears to be under the age of 18 should not be depicted in such ads.

The advertisements should also not depict winning in online games as an income opportunity or an alternate employment option. The advertisements should also not suggest that the person winning money through online games is in any way more successful than others.

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