The Indian gambling industry has grown immensely over the years. Estimates show that 8 out of 10 Indians have taken part in some form of gambling. A big part of this growth is attributed to Bollywood promotion. You see, India loves her celebrities, who, in turn, love making money. So, when a gambling company comes knocking with a promo deal, they often say yes.
Most of these deals are from offshore gambling companies looking to enter the Indian market. And in a country where 80% of citizens gamble at least once a year, that is huge. Not forgetting that India has 17.7% of the world's population.
Back to Bollywood—we could say celebrities are clouded by money charm. It's not every day that someone offers you Rs. 100 lakhs. A glance at the social media handles of these celebs will tell it all. and MS Dhoni, for example, are huge promoters of online casinos. So, the question stopping the train is, "Are they committing any crimes"?
Social Media Gambling Celebrity Promos
In a connected world like today, social media has become a village. And just like walking the streets of Mumbai, everyone is everywhere. Celebrities have huge followings on social media. It's not strange for an actress to have millions of followers. And gambling companies see this as an opportunity to sell their gambling services.
Since these celebrities have a tremendous influence, their promotions are taken as true. The unsuspecting, loyal fans will bet on these illicit sites. Sadly, some of the sites are illegal and scam their players.
Sourabh Raaj Jain
of Mahabharat has come out to speak about this. He has called for celebrity responsibility when promoting betting activities. In a callout on Twitter, Sourabh says, "So many celebrities promote online gaming that focuses on making easy money; I find it extremely irresponsible."
According to the actor, promoters should be wary of gambling effects. He notes that these promotions could lead youngsters into addictive gambling.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) weighs in on the matter too. Their data shows that celebrity gambling promotions account for 30% of influencer violation cases. Who knew that our Bollywood stars are lawbreakers?
Top 5 Bollywood Stars Who Promote Gambling
It's no secret that Bollywood has become known for its gambling ads. These big stars also enjoy a game of cards once in a while. But their promotions have been viewed as unhealthy.
Here are some top Bollywood stars with affiliations with online gambling:
- This actor is famous for his role in the movie Rajneeti. He is the ambassador of PokerHigh—an Indian gambling site.
- Amy Jackson - The astonishingly beautiful actress is an active promoter of Rummy Passion. She is known for the role she played in Singh is Bling.
- - You might know Anita from her role in the
film. She also plays a lead role in the series Kkavyanjali. She promotes PokerRaj, even taking part in events and tournaments.
- MS Dhoni - As a cricket captain, a promotion from MS Dhoni is gold. He is the brand ambassador of PokerStars.
- The renowned star is a promoter for Betway, an international bookmaker. Currently, Betway is carving a way to enter officially into the Indian Market.
Why Bollywood Stars Promote Online Casinos And Gambling
We can discuss all we want, but the main reason why Bollywood celebrities promote online casinos and gambling is the money in it. According to Indeed, a brand ambassador in India earns an average of ₹21,786 monthly. But that’s the average. Promote big brands and pocket millions. Who would hate such a deal?
Remember, these people are already popular. That’s why we call them celebrities. Therefore, they are certainly not looking for fame. They already have it! But it’s often limited to Indian borders.
For those who want to go past the Indian borders in their movie career, promoting online casinos and gambling could be a smooth gateway to that. Brands like Betway are available in dozens of countries. Including the faces of Indian movie stars in their campaigns promotes the country’s movie business even in other nations. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Is Online Gambling Legal In India?
All this talk makes us question the legality of gambling in India. As per the Public Gambling Act of 1867, gambling in the country is prohibited. An exception exists for games of skill and lotteries, though.
The exception brings contention on what exactly is a game of skill. This has led the federal government to relax enforcement of gambling laws.
States have, however, taken it upon themselves to have their own localized gambling regulations. Some states have implemented a total ban on all gambling activities. For example, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana states have passed laws for a total gambling ban.
While this might be seen as restrictive, gambling addiction in cities makes it necessary. Not to mention the unending casino game promotions, which don't help solve the issue.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has made efforts to tame advertisements in mainstream media. In India, the media is not allowed to advertise offshore gambling companies. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) can charge advertising agents for flaunting this rule.
Players participating in these illegal casinos have it easy. There's a petty fine of Rs. 200 or three months of jail time. The fine is too negligible to be effective compared to the casino lure.
Increased pressure continues to brew on Bollywood stars' promotion of online gaming. Varying opinions show how indifferent people feel about this issue.
On the flip side, celebrities have gotten lucrative deals from casino gaming companies. These companies use their massive social media followings to promote their products. For a single post, a movie star might get millions.
But these promotions have been scandalized by bad PR. Most people have even looked down on the celebs as being money-oriented first. Other stars, like Sourabh Raaj, have publicly called them out for this behavior.
And with continued gambling addiction problems, celebs should rethink signing any contracts. After all, they might save their fans from gambling scams and addiction. But hey, the deals are good, and the rewards are lucrative!