Indian watchdog urges members to adopt new standards on advertising real money games

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has published its first set of guidelines on responsible advertising with regards to promoting ‘real-money gaming’.

The non-governmental body has advised its members to exercise caution when promoting real money games, an advertising segment deemed to be high-risk by the watchdog. 

ASIC maintains that its guidelines aim to develop a safe and coherent framework for advertisers to follow when promoting real money games – but underlined that ultimate regulation and legality of games will be independently governed by India’s 28 autonomous state governments.  

The standards body published its membership guidance, having recorded a significant surge in adverts which promote real-money games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASIC guidelines state that members must ensure that real-money advertisers cannot promote games or services ‘depicting any person under the age of 18 years’ – a requirement enforced across all mediums.  

All real money gaming adverts must carry a ‘Please Play Responsibly’ disclaimer, warning consumers of the associated financial risks and potential addictions – with warnings implemented across audio and video platforms.

In addition, Indian broadcasters and media owners must ensure that participation in real money games is not depicted as an ‘income opportunity or employment option’.

At present, India holds no central statutory agency nor uniform legislation regulating the advertising industry. ASIC members operate by the standards set by the ‘ASIC Code’ which were established to ensure ‘honesty, decency, responsibility and fairness’ to Indian advertising practices.

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