In order to discuss advertisements of online gaming platforms, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) is holding a meeting with stakeholders on November 18. The meeting is slated to discuss the issue of ads aired by Mobile Premier League (MPL) pool winner, Naam11.com and Dear Lottery, which possibly goes against existing advertising and consumer protection regulations.
Besides the gaming companies, the meeting will be attended by representatives of All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of India Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and Online Rummy Federation (TORF).
Recently, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had found an ad endorsed by Virat Kohli for Mobile Premier League (MPL) as not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data on being the “biggest online game” through an audited report or third-party validation.
The AIGF is an industry body for online skill gaming in India, its members include the Mobile Premier League (MPL), Adda52.com, Paytm First Games and 9Stacks. The FIFS calls itself a self-regulatory body for fantasy sports and counts Dream11, My11Circle, and MyTeam11 as members. The TORF describes itself as a body “to guide and support the online rummy industry” and has RummyCircle.com, Ace2Three, and Mobile Premier League among its members.
The MIB notice says that such ads can be correlated to a provision of the advertising codes of the Cable Television Network Act, which prohibit ads that could mislead the public into believing that a product has miraculous or supernatural qualities.
It also cites the Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) self-regulatory code, which requires transparency around ads urging people to partake in lotteries or prize competitions.
Online gambling walks the thin line between skill, chance and strict regulations. A myriad of policy regulations and the onus of respective Indian states to take a stand on gambling has created a policy labyrinth.
Online Gaming Rising In India
Currently, India is home to more than 278 Mn online gaming users which make up approximately 46% of the total 604 Mn internet subscribers in India. This number is expected to reach 312 Mn by the year 2020. A major driving force behind the rise of mobile gaming in India is due to the 54% surge in internet users from 391 Mn in 2016 to 604 Mn in 2018.
Speaking about gambling for an earlier story carried by Inc42, Harsh Jain, CEO and cofounder of Dream11, India’s only gaming unicorn so far, said, “Anti-gambling laws in some states which also include online skill-based gaming within their purview became a huge challenge for us in India. The investor sentiment at that time in India was pretty shaken. I pitched everywhere, from New York to San Francisco in more than 150 meetings before getting a Series A cheque from Kalaari Capital in 2015.”