Broadcasters should follow ASCI guidelines on fantasy gaming: I&B Ministry

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has issued an advisory asking private broadcasters to follow guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for advertisements relating to fantasy sports and online gaming.

The I&B is the government’s agency to monitor rules and laws in information, broadcasting, press and cinema.

The guidelines direct all broadcasters to carry a disclaimer prohibiting people under the age of 18 from venturing into online fantasy gaming and also alert viewers about the financial risk involved.

"No gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years, or who appears to be under the age of 18, engaged in online gaming for real money winnings or suggest that such persons can play these games," the advisory said.

The disclaimer should take no less than 20 per cent of the space in print ads and for audio or visual displays, it must be placed at normal speaking pace at the end of the commercial.

The ministry further directed broadcasters to refrain from presenting online gaming for real money winnings as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option. The advertisements should not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.

The new guidelines issued by ASCI on November 24 will be effective from December 15.

 

The I&B Ministry had earlier held a meeting with the ministries of Consumer Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology, ASCI, News Broadcasters Association, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, All India Gaming Federation, Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), and the Online Rummy Federation. The ASCI guidelines were issued after these consultations.

The online fantasy sports industry of India has witnessed a sharp spike in user base courtesy of the innovative marketing campaigns run by the fantasy sports platforms.

The majority of the platforms have Indian cricket team stars as their brand ambassadors. 

Former Indian team captain MS Dhoni is signed by Dream11, whereas current skipper Virat Kohli endorses Mobile Premier League (MPL). KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, and Yuvraj Singh have also been seen promoting different fantasy sports platforms.