Celebrities, Influencers Warned Against Betting Ads

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued a stern warning to celebrities and influencers who promote betting and gambling activities through advertisements. The CCPA said that such endorsements are illegal and can have serious financial and social consequences, especially for the youth.

What are betting and gambling activities?

Betting and gambling are activities that involve wagering money or something of value on an uncertain event or outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods. Betting and gambling are prohibited under the Public Gambling Act, 1867, and are considered illegal in most parts of India. However, online betting platforms and apps continue to advertise betting and gambling directly or indirectly under the guise of gaming. The CCPA said that it has noticed an increase in such advertisements in recent times.

Why are betting and gambling advertisements harmful?

The CCPA said that it is concerned about the impact of such advertisements on the consumers, especially the youth, who may be influenced by celebrities and influencers to engage in betting and gambling activities without being aware of the risks and legal implications. The CCPA said that such advertisements can lead to addiction, debt, fraud, money laundering, crime, mental health issues and social problems. The CCPA also said that such advertisements can violate the consumer rights of fair trade practices, disclosure of information, safety and redressal.

What are the legal consequences of promoting betting and gambling activities?

The CCPA has issued an advisory in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which prohibits advertising, promotion and endorsement of unlawful activities that are banned under various laws. The advisory also highlighted the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022, which clearly forbid advertisements of products or services that are illegal under any prevailing law.

The advisory warned celebrities and influencers that any involvement in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status, makes them equally liable for participating in an illegal activity. The CCPA cautioned that any advertisement or endorsement of activities that are prohibited by the law, including but not limited to betting or gambling, would be subject to rigorous scrutiny and action. The CCPA said that such actions can attract penalties, fines, imprisonment, cancellation of licenses, bans and blacklisting.

What are the preventive measures taken by the authorities?

The advisory also underscored the efforts of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in issuing various advisories to media platforms, urging them to refrain from publicising betting and gambling platforms. Online advertisement intermediaries have also been advised against targeting such advertisements to the Indian audience.

The CCPA said that it is working with other regulators and stakeholders to monitor and curb such advertisements. The CCPA also urged the public to report any such advertisements to the National Consumer Helpline or the Grievance Against Misleading Advertisements portal.

The CCPA urged all stakeholders to act responsibly and ethically while endorsing any product or service.

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