Gambling is banned in most Indian states but loopholes in archaic gaming regulations allow offshore gaming operators to offer iGaming services throughout the country.
A number of daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators are also doing big business in India on the basis that DFS games are games of skill and not chance.
The iGaming market in India has grown rapidly during the last 5 years and has become very competitive. iGaming operators who want to stay ahead of the competition have to resort to heavy marketing and advertising to fight for market share.
Since there are no gaming regulations or gaming regulator in place, iGaming operators have had a very free hand in advertising, marketing and going after new players.
All that changed in December 2020, when the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) published a new set of guidelines for gaming operators.
The ASCI was forced to come out with these guidelines due to the increase in complaints that Indian players were being exploited and taken advantage of by iGaming operators. The ASCI published advertising guidelines for real money games and asked all operators to comply with these new regulations from 15 December, 2020.
It’s been just over 6 weeks since the new guidelines were published and the ASCI has already recorded 81 violations. The ASCI confirmed that 75 percent of these complaints came in from players while the rest were caught by the advertising watchdog.
Targeting Minors and Making False Promises
Most of these gaming ad violations were in regards to making false promises and targeting minors. The false advertising is with regards to making promises that players can earn a livelihood gambling and enjoy success by playing online casino games. Most of these advertisements were run on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram.
The ASCI confirmed that 27 of these cases were withdrawn once a complaint was made while 15 advertisements were voluntarily taken down once they received communication from the ASCI over a potential violation. There were only two operators who decided to contest the ruling but based on the ASCI regulations, the decision was upheld.
However, there are still 37 advertisements still up and running as a discussion is taking place between the concerned gaming operators as the ASCI. The ASCI has decided not to reveal the names of the gaming operators who have been pulled up for advertising violations.