The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) recently introduced new guidelines about real-money gaming advertising, making such promotional activities more transparent and safe.
From December 15th, real-money gaming platforms will not be able to advertise through ads full of promises of winning huge money in gaming jackpots. The advertising guidelines introduced by ASCI require advertisements to make users aware about financial and other risks involved in playing online real-money games. These guidelines will apply on advertising that’s legally permitted.
“The Online Rummy Federation (TORF) welcomes this initiative and sees this as a great move which will ensure that legitimate operators like our members who are certified can be clearly distinguished from fly by night operators who will be forced to operate forcibly,” Sameed Barde, CEO, TORF, as per a report in Financial Express.
Also, the guidelines require that no ad depicts users under the age of 18 or those who appear to be under the required age, playing on such online platforms for real money winnings. The ads may also not suggest that users of below 18 years can play such games.
“We have observed gaming advertisements target youth and families by suggesting that these can become sources of income and livelihood for them. The key fact that is completely suppressed in most of these advertisements is the real possibility of losing money. The frequent use of celebrities in many of these advertisements make them more attractive to consumers. Combined with the fact that these games are highly addictive, these advertisements end up being not just misleading, but also harmful to individuals and society,” said Manisha Kapoor, secretary general, ASCI.
As per ASCI guidelines, each ad is also required to state a disclaimer stating, ‘This game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.’
These guidelines by ASCI will apply to all real-money gaming platform ads on mediums like print, television and digital.
Furthermore, the ads are not allowed to promote or present online gaming for real-money winning as an income opportunity or alternative employment option. The ads also can’t suggest that users playing such games are in any manner more successful than others.
Barde commented on how such restrictions will impact the stakeholders, “This impact will be harder on businesses with weaker brand equity as the obvious call-outs of cash are done away with. In the mid-long run, we believe that it will lead to an improvement in the quality of users acquired as what will appeal to the user is the brand and the value proposition of a skill game and pure entertainment without the call-out of monies to be won.”
Lloyd Mathias, an industry expert and a business strategist, said, “The guidelines may have no significant impact on acquisition of users. Most online gaming already use well known celebrities and users are hooked to their games. These new ASCI guidelines in a sense will have as much of an impact as the Mutual Fund ad disclaimer.”
Stay tuned for more online gambling news in India.