MIB directs TV channels to comply with ASCI guidelines on online gaming ads

All such advertisements must carry a mandatory warning message, the guidelines have said

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 5, 2020 1:03 PM

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued an advisory directing all private satellite TV channels to follow the Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI) advisory regarding ads on online gaming and fantasy sports.

The ministry has stated that a large number of advertisements on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, etc., have been appearing on television. It further stated that concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading, do not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and other risks associated thereof, are not in strict conformity with the Advertising Code laid down under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Accordingly, the ministry said it along with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology had convened a stakeholders consultative meeting on 18.11.2020 with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and the Online Rummy Federation (ORF).

After discussions and consultations, it was agreed that ASCI would issue an appropriate guideline for the benefit of the advertisers and broadcasters to ensure that the advertisements are transparent and protect consumers.

Through a press release dated 24.11.2020, ASCI has issued the guidelines, a copy of which is enclosed. ASCI has proposed that these guidelines will be effective from 15th December 2020.

"In the light of the above, all broadcasters are advised that the guidelines issued by ASCI are complied with and advertisements broadcast on television adhere to the aforementioned guidelines of the ASCI. It may also be ensured that advertisements do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law," the ministry said in the advisory.

ASCI guidelines on online gaming, fantasy sports ads are as follows:

No gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years, or who appears to be under the age of 18, engaged in playing a game of ONLINE GAMING FOR REAL MONEY WINNINGS, or suggest that such persons can play these games.

Every such gaming advertisement must carry the following disclaimer:

Print/ static: This game involves an element of financial risk, and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk

Such a disclaimer should occupy no less than 20% of the space in the advertisement

It should also SPECIFICALLY meet disclaimer guidelines 4(i) (ii) (iv) (viii) laid out in the ASCI code

Audio/ Video: “This game involves an element of financial risk, and maybe addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk. Such a disclaimer must be placed in normal speaking pace at the end of the advertisement

It must be in the same language as the advertisement.

For audio-visual mediums, the disclaimer needs to be in both the audio and visual formats.

The advertisements should not present ‘Online Gaming for Real Money winnings” as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.

The advertisement should not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.

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