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Advisory in terms of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 on Prohibition of Advertising, Promotion, and Endorsement of unlawful activities prohibited under various laws- (Central Consumer Protection Authority) (06 Mar 2024)

MANU/NMIC/0092/2024

Consumer

1. It has come to the notice of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) that there are increasing instances of direct as well as surrogate advertisement and endorsements of activities considered illegal such as betting or gambling.

2. Betting and gambling are prohibited under the Public Gambling Act 1867 and considered illegal in most regions across the country. Advertisement of online betting platforms and apps promotes an activity that is predominantly banned and carries significant financial and socio-economic implications on consumers, particularly the youth.

3. Further, in this regard Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has already issued various advisories warning media platforms against promoting betting and gambling platforms. The online advertisement intermediaries have also been advised not to target such advertisements towards the Indian audience.

4. It has come to our attention that betting platforms are employing celebrities and influencers to endorse and promote their betting activities. Consequently endorsement by celebrities gives an impression that indulging in such activity is acceptable.

5. Engaging in the promotion or advertisement of online gambling and betting, given its unlawful status in majority of the states, renders one equally liable for participating in an illegal activity. Hence, celebrities and influencers are advised to refrain from endorsing and promoting illegal betting and gambling activities.

6. The Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 categorically prohibits advertisements of products or services that are prohibited from being produced, sold, or provided under any law for the time being in force.

Clause 9 of Guidelines on Prevention of Misleading Advertisements provides as under:

Advertisements prohibited by law.--In addition to the prohibited advertisements as set out in these guidelines, no advertisement shall be permitted which is designed, produced and published in respect of goods, products or services which are prohibited from being produced, sold or provided or which are prohibited from being advertised under any law for the time being in force or under any rules or regulations made thereunder.

7. It is to be noted that what is expressly prohibited under other prevalent laws is also prohibited under Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 which applies to all advertisements regardless of medium. (Cable TV, Online, Digital Media, print Media etc.)

8. Accordingly, it is hereby cautioned that any advertisement or endorsement, whether directly or indirectly, of activities which are otherwise prohibited by law, including but not limited to betting or gambling, through advertisements or promotions, shall be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

9. In case the aforementioned guidelines are violated, stringent measures as per the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 shall be initiated against the entire spectrum encompassing manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, celebrities, influences, endorsers, and any other relevant stakeholders.

Tags : ADVISORY   PROHIBITION   UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES  

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