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Indian government asks Google to stop showing ads for overseas betting apps

An Android phone with a Google search bar in focus

The Indian government has asked Google to stop displaying ads for overseas betting companies, such as Fairplay, PariMatch, Betway, and 1xBet, in search results and on YouTube. This request follows the government's previous request to broadcasters and video streaming services to remove advertisements for these companies.

A person in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has confirmed that a letter was sent to Google India last week, asking the company to immediately remove all advertising for these betting platforms, both direct and surrogate. This move is part of the government's crackdown on illegal online gambling in the country.

In a statement to Mint, a senior ministry official said:

“After our last advisory on 3 October, TV channels and OTT players stopped showing surrogate ads of online betting firms, but it was brought to our notice that many such ads are running on YouTube and Google. We have asked Google to stop this immediately."

The government is concerned that many of its citizens are becoming addicted to or losing money to online betting companies that are able to operate in India by not having servers or physical presence in the country. Online betting is banned in many Indian states, but these companies are able to take advantage of the technicality of not being physically present to continue their operations.

The MIB has concluded that these betting sites pose significant risks for consumers, particularly youth and children, in terms of both finances and socio-economic impacts. As such, the government is taking steps to crack down on these illegal betting operations.

According to an estimate by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), a total of ₹5,000 crore (approximately $675 million) is being deposited in the accounts of multiple agents of overseas betting companies operating in India every month. However, there is no clarity on where this money is going or how it is being used, according to the lobby group.

This lack of transparency and regulation is a cause for concern, as it raises questions about the legitimacy of these transactions and the potential for illegal activities.

Source: Mint

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