Finally, the annoying Online rummy ads coming to an end...What's in the order of the Union government?

(This article is authored by Alar) 

Finally, the annoying Online rummy and betting advertisements are coming to an end as the Union government has passed the instructions to the media agencies to stop promoting such advertisements. The development has come in the midst of a chain of events where thousands of people were trapped in distress due to such online betting games and platforms. 

Social media, including online advertisement platforms and publishers, have also been instructed to withhold from promoting such advertisements in the country. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has on Monday - June 13 issued an advisory in light of instances of advertisement of online betting websites and platforms in the media. 

The advisory has been issued after a meeting between the ministry and the ministries of Consumer Affairs, Electronics & IT, along with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), and Online Rummy Federation (ORF). 

The statement from the I&B Ministry has said that advertisements for online gambling should not be popularized and gambling is illegal and it poses a financial and social risk to young people and children and harms young people and children. It impacts the community and creates financial problems. It is advised not to broadcast or publish advertisements related to online gambling. 

The Union Ministry has further advised all print and electronic media not to publish online casino advertisements on websites and online media. The statement has highlighted, "The advertisements of online betting are misleading and do not appear to be in strict conformity with the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, and advertisement norms under the Norms of Journalistic Conduct laid down by the Press Council of India under the Press Council Act, 1978." 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu is gearing up to have exclusive legislation to curb such online betting and rummy advertisements after witnessing several suicides due to financial losses in a short time. The previous ADMK regime has enacted a law - the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021 banning online betting games like rummy and poker with stakes.

Nonetheless, private companies offering such games filed a case against the ban in the Madras High Court and got it subdued. It has left no impact to date, where the suicides and deaths have surged. Following a spate of suicides across the state, the MK Stalin administration has last Friday constituted a panel to study the impact of the online rummy. Led by retired High Court judge Justice Chandru, the panel comprises Dr Sankararaman, a technical expert from IIT-Madras, Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar- SNEHA founder and psychiatrist and senior police officer Vinit Dev Wankhede. The panel has been asked to submit its report in two weeks.