Indian Government Asks Google To Stop Running Gambling Ads, Pushes For Legislation

Indian Government Asks Google To Stop Running Gambling Ads, Pushes For Legislation

For a long time, the iGaming industry in India was ignored and offshore gaming operators had a free hand offering their services to 1.2 billion Indians because iGaming is not regulated in India.

However, the massive popularity and growth of the iGaming industry have forced state governments and now the central government to address the issue. Recent reports from the Indian government show that they are now interested to regulate all real-money internet gaming, including skill and chance games.

Central Government Interested In Regulation

Initially, an Indian panel entrusted with drafting the regulation in August had proposed a new regulatory body to decide whether a game involved skill or chance. After that, skill games would have to abide by federal laws that included registration criteria, know-your-customer guidelines, and a complaints resolution procedure.

The panel stated that several offshore betting and gambling websites banned in India have grown popular among Indian users even though they only looked at online skill games and not gambling, which is governed by states. Both free and for-pay versions of skill games would fall under the new regulatory framework.

Additionally, according to earlier Reuters sources, chance games, which are considered comparable to gambling, which is generally prohibited in India, would continue to be under the supervision of individual state governments and be subject to their regulation.

However, at an Oct. 26 government meeting, an official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office objected to such a distinction, pushing for more control on all forms of games, according to Reuters.

Indian Government Asks Google To Stop Running Gambling Ads

The Indian government has been making a concerted effort to block any illegal online gambling marketing on media outlets.

Recently, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry ordered Google to stop displaying surrogate ads for betting companies like Betway, Fairplay, PariMatch, and 1xBet on its platforms, citing that gambling of any kind, whether it takes place online or off, is prohibited in India.

On 7 Dec, the tech giant announced that it does not permit adverts that encourage online gambling in response to the Indian government’s directive to Google to cease showing betting businesses’ ads to Indian consumers.

According to reports, TV networks and OTT platforms have ceased airing surrogate commercials for online betting companies since the Ministry previously issued a warning. However, it was made clear that several similar advertisements were running on Google and YouTube.

The Indian government is considering the creation of a regulating organization for online skill games. Except for a Supreme Court ruling on skill-based gambling, no federal law in India regulates gaming.

Indian Government’s Stance on Real-Money Gaming

While several state courts have had differing opinions about games like poker, the Indian Supreme Court has ruled that the card game rummy and some fantasy games are skill-based and permissible.

According to one of the Indian government representatives, the Modi administration is worried about the possibility of addiction to real-money online gaming platforms.

While state governments continue to have the authority to outright outlaw gambling or games of chance, new laws are anticipated to give the federal government more power over all sorts of gaming.

The development of the new rules coincides with rising concerns that the popularity of such games, particularly among young people, has resulted in addiction, financial losses, and even some recorded suicide cases.

iGaming Industry In India Continues To Grow

Recent growth in money-based online gaming, especially games of chance comparable to gambling, which is mainly forbidden in India, has been linked to rising internet usage in the country.

There is no federal regulatory framework for real-money online games, including those viewed as skill-based, like some fantasy sports and poker, even though most states and platforms forbid gambling apps.

Recently, Indian businesses Dream11 and Mobile Premier League, well-known for their fantasy cricket games, received financing from Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital.

The final guidelines are eagerly anticipated since they are expected to affect the expansion of India’s gaming business. If it continues to develop at its current rate, it is forecast to reach $7 billion in value by 2026, per a report by RedSeer Consultancy.

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