What's the news: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on October 3 issued advisories to television channels, digital news publishers, and OTT platforms "strongly advising them to refrain from showing advertisements of online betting sites and surrogate advertisements of such sites." Additionally, the Ministry has advised online advertisement intermediaries to not target such advertisements toward the Indian audience. The government noted that it was issuing these advisories "in light of the significant financial and socio-economic risk for the consumers, especially youth and children." Why does this matter? The regulation of real money gaming and gambling platforms is a major issue in India currently because some of these platforms are harming lives as gamers are borrowing loans, overspending, and committing suicide when they are unable to pay back. While real money gaming lives in legal uncertainty as it involves games of skill, gambling (betting) is banned in most states. But despite this, there are multiple platforms that continue to advertise betting services. Second advisory in last four months: The I&B Ministry had issued an advisory back in June prohibiting ads from betting platforms. But these platforms have found ways around the advisory by placing surrogate ads, prompting the Ministry to issue this second advisory. Plugging the surrogate ads loophole: Surrogate ads are used to promote banned/restricted products, like betting platforms, in the disguise of another, legal product. "Online offshore betting platforms are now using news websites as a surrogate product to advertise the betting platforms on digital media. In such cases, the Ministry has found that the logos of…
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