Japneet Sethi, Country Manager, Marketing and Operations, Khelraja

Japneet is a self-motivated and experienced professional with vast experience in managerial roles overseeing global operations. He has industry specialized skill sets and industry-related knowledge, which helps him propel ideas that lead to the expansion of the company and benefits the team growth in the long run. Japneet is a business graduate and has pursued his BCA and PGDM (International Business) from Jagan Institute of Management Studies, Delhi. He has also honed his managerial skills by completing the Harvard Business School’s online course in Management Essentials. 


With a 40% projected growth rate, gaming is one of India’s speediest emerging sectors. The sector produced $1.5 billion in net revenue in 2019-20, and by 2025, it is anticipated to reach $5 billion. With a user base of more than 300 million, it has lately surpassed the US in terms of popularity and is quickly exceeding other entertainment and media outlets.

From 360 million in 2020 to 390 million in 2021, the overall number of online gamers in India increased by 8%. By 2023, experts estimate that this number will reach 450 million. This exponential growth in the iGaming industry has led to the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) taking steps to reform the advertising standards for the industry. 

Presently, the Supreme Court and the High Courts of different states have determined that the majority of gaming businesses in India, including Esports, hyper-casual games, fantasy sports, and card-based games, are talent-based activities rather than betting and gambling.

Beyond this there have been new ASCI guidelines recently released to regulate the advertising done by the iGaming industry. What are these? 

ASCI Guidelines to Regulate iGaming Advertising

Under the direction of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has been actively reforming the advertising guidelines for the online gaming industry. The administration’s most recent warning against advertisements for online betting portals in print, electronic, and online content released is the latest example of its efforts to curb the serious financial and social economic risks it presents to Indian consumers.

The I&B Ministry’s warning is directed at foreign online gambling and betting websites and their agents who were flagrantly using print, electronic, and digital media to advertise unlawfully in violation of state and federal legislation. Simply clarifying the legal stance that print, digital, and social media should avoid from endorsing gambling sites services, the recommendation essentially states the obvious.

The providers of domestic online “real money skill gambling,” such as poker, rummy, and fantasy sports sites that are registered in India and abide by local rules, are exempt from this warning. Thus, this warning won’t have an influence on domestic real money gambling enterprises and will only apply to illegitimate operators, who are mostly overseas sites.

Along with online betting sites being prohibited from promoting, adverts that feature persons under the age of 18 are also prohibited. In addition, the rules required that all forms of media—print, static, sound, and video—should warn players that the game they are playing has a “implement increase” that might be addictive.

With the above guidelines there are set to be reforms in the online gaming advertising in India which will impact its success and growth. 

Pros and Cons of the New Advertising Strategies being adopted by iGaming industry 

A certain segment of advertisers may choose to use surrogate advertising. Since online gaming businesses’ business models are still developing and need to raise public awareness via marketing efforts, surrogate advertisements may not be as successful for them. While switching to surrogate advertisement may be a feasible option, but surrogate advertisement may not be as effective as a direct marketing campaign because iGaming relies on building consumer awareness. 

Now that the advertising options are limited by the advisory, the existing players in the market would have to focus more on retention because they’re the ones with the most to lose having spent millions in advertising, while for smaller players it sets the platform very well because now it is all about brand building and marketing, and not just about who can spend the most. 

This would also create an opportunity for community marketing and iGaming brands would heavily rely on word-of-mouth marketing. The most widely accepted ideology to promote authenticity is to make use of human voice while making content and avoid the use of a dummy, institutional voice in the background. This helps in promoting positive word-of-mouth communication and will play a lead role in the future of advertising in the iGaming industry. 

Additionally, Content marketing is the key to the future of this industry. Thought leaders would eventually emerge as the market leader.  In the field of social media advertising, major academic studies revolve around content and engagement along with dialogue, impact, and credibility. iGaming companies are focusing on communication and engagement with their stakeholders and social media research has proven that it is through social media that one can most effectively provide content to the audience thereby increasing customer engagement which is on the priority list for several iGaming companies.


The above reforms in the new advertising guidelines for the iGaming industry will lead to a more regulated and authenticated process of advertising which will help in spreading awareness and the right message around the nature of gaming. The new strategies being adopted by the iGaming organizations will not just lead to a more streamlined and focused advertising approach but also enable a more responsible advertising environment in the country. 

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