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Advertising industry regulator Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Thursday said it has taken action against 81 advertisements of various online gaming platforms after releasing guidelines related to real-money gaming, which came into effect from 15 December.

These ads violated its guidelines which require advertisements to not be aimed at minors, not present gaming as a possible source of livelihood, or link it to success. In addition, the guidelines also require all advertisements to carry a disclaimer regarding the risk of financial loss and the addictive nature of such games.

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Around 75% of the complaints were from end consumers, while the rest were taken up suo motu by ASCI. In 15 cases, the advertisements have been voluntarily withdrawn by advertisers after receiving a communication from ASCI. In another 27 cases, the advertiser had removed the advertisements after the complaint was lodged but before they received communication from ASCI. In two cases, the advertisers contested the complaint, but these complaints were upheld as the advertisements violated the ASCI code.

Meanwhile, complaints against 37 advertisements are still under process where ASCI has written to the advertiser for an explanation.

In terms of platforms, a majority of the complaints received were regarding ads on Instagram (39) and YouTube (37). The maximum number of complaints were filed against online cricket (55) and rummy (15). ASCI declined to divulge the names of the defaulting online gaming companies.

“We are quite happy to note that consumers have come forward to report advertisements that potentially violate the code. We too are keeping a close eye on such advertisements and, through our association with TAM Media Research, we are monitoring the digital space more efficiently. With such steps, we hope to make advertisements for online gaming for real money winnings more transparent and safer for consumers," said Manisha Kapoor, secretary general, ASCI.

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