Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) held a meeting for consulting purposes on 18th November 2020 to discuss online gaming TV advertisements. Previously, MediaNama unveiled the meeting’s plans, and then the Ministry also confirmed the schedules and the purpose of the same. However, before the meeting, the I&B Ministry denied disclosing more details about it.
According to the unveiled meeting notice, the rationale of the Ministry is that several TV channels broadcast the ads for multiple online gaming platforms like Mobile Premier League (MPL), Naam11.com, Dear Lottery, and others. These are against the existing ads and consumer protection rules and regulations.
The below-mentioned authorities received the invitations to the meeting, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon:
- The General Secretary of ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India), Manisha Kapoor
- The President of NBA (News Broadcasters Association), Rajat Sharma
- The President of IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation), K. Madhavan
- Consumer Affairs’ Ministry
- AIGF (All India gaming federation)
- FIFS (Federation of India Fantasy Sports)
- TORF (The Online Rummy federation)
The Ministry of I&B also unveiled that the mentioned individuals can nominate a representative for attending the meeting. However, TORF, FIFS, and AIGF refused to comment on the matter.
AIGF is an industrial organization for India’s online skill gaming. The members include the Paytm First Games, Mobile Premier League, Adda52.com, and 9Stacks. FIFS, on the other hand, claimed to be a self-regulatory body for several fantasy sports platforms and included MyTeam11, Dream11, and My11Circle as its members.
Previously, in October 2020, Rajasthan High Court acknowledged FIFS’s role in the Indian fantasy sports sector.
Further, TORF describes that it is a body available “to guide and support the online rummy industry”. It also has Mobile Premier League, Ace2Three, and RummyCircle.com as its prominent members.
The notice from the Ministry of I&B said that the given ads might correlate to the advertising codes’ provision of the Cable television network Act. This act prohibits the advertisements that might mislead the nationwide public into considering a product to have some miraculous and supernatural traits. It also says that the self-regulatory code of ASCI requires transparency around the ads that urge people to participate in the prize and lottery competitions.
Moreover, the notice also stated that ASCI said that it has no added competence to decide on whether “MPL is conducting gambling” or not. It also said that it has no authority, competence, or mandate to determine whether some Indian laws ban these products or not. Furthermore, ASCI noted that the concerned authorities must look into the matter and then decide.
Gaming acquired an impressive momentum in the past few years, and thus the Cable TV Act or the codes of ASCI do not refer to those. The Ministry of I&B further said and noted that: “The possibility of advertisements being misleading can always be there for such activities.”
Furthermore, the Ministry of I&B also cited 2019’s Consumer Protection Act, prohibiting misleading and false advertisements.