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‘Avoid online betting ads, OTHERWISE..: Centre WARNS news websites, OTT platforms

New Delhi: The Centre on Monday issued advisories to news websites, OTT platforms and private satellite channels asking them to refrain from carrying advertisements of offshore betting sites. “…The private satellite television channels are strongly advised to refrain from carrying advertisements of online offshore betting platforms and/or their surrogate news websites or any such product/service depicting these platforms in a surrogate manner,” the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting advisory said.

It also warned private satellite television channels of penal action under applicable laws for violation of the advisory. In a separate advisory to publishers of news and current affairs content on digital media and OTT platforms, the ministry issued a similar directive and asked them not to target such advertisements toward the Indian audience.

The ministry said that some online offshore betting platforms have started using news websites as surrogate products to advertise themselves. It said that in the advertisements of the surrogate news websites operated by the online betting platforms, the logos of the news websites were strikingly similar to the betting platform.

“The concerned betting platforms and the corresponding news websites are also not registered with any legal authority under Indian laws,” the advisory said, adding that the online offshore betting platforms appear to be promoting betting and gambling under the garb of news through surrogate advertising.

The advisory said that the Department of Consumer Affairs has also informed that online betting platforms have been advertising themselves as professional sports blogs and sports news websites.

It has also provided an indicative list of online betting platforms which are using news for surrogate advertising. The advisory said relevant laws have declared the advertisement of betting platforms an illegal activity and such ads cannot be shown on digital media or TV channels.

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