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Impact of Celebrity Gambling Endorsement On Indian Youth

Impact of Celebrity Gambling Endorsement On Indian Youth by Prof Dheeraj Sharma (Director, IIM Rohtak) and Dr Madhurima Mishra (Faculty, IIM Rohtak) – let’s talk about this survey topic today.

Impact of Celebrity Gambling Endorsement On Indian Youth

A media report from 2015 indicates that Enforcement Directorate conducted an investigation to find that there were nearly Rs 1.9 lakh crore gambled on a UK gambling site by 10 million users from India. In recent times, we have witnessed a large number of gambling sites that have emerged in India. Estimates suggest that nearly 80% of Indians gamble at least once a year and that the online gambling industry is expected to be worth $250 billion by 2024.

The popularity of cricket and football in India has prompted developers to come up with well-regulated mobile applications related to online gaming and betting. These apps allow sports fans the opportunity to enjoy gaming action and place their bets on a wide variety of sports events across the world. According to FICCI-EY data, fantasy sports alone could be worth $2.5 billion in 2022 and is likely to touch the $3.7 billion mark by 2024, with companies like Dream 11 registering revenue of INR 20.7 billion in FY 2020.

In a research study conducted by IIM Rohtak under the guidance of Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, Director IIM Rohak along with Dr. Madhurima Mishra to examine the impact of celebrity endorsement on the propensity to gamble, it was found that intent to gamble significantly increases on account of celebrity endorsements. Furthermore, the study found that the highest level of intent to gamble exists in situations where a celebrity endorses a gambling app while the statutory warning is stated by a non-celebrity.

However, the propensity to gamble gets reduced when the endorsement, as well as a statutory warning, is given by the celebrity. Therefore, it may be inferred that individuals gambling on these apps do not pay much cognizance to the statutory warning as their attention is largely consumed by the celebrity’s message. Consequently, for responsible actions of those who are watching and getting influenced by the advertisement of gambling sites, the regulator must ensure that the endorsement and statutory should both be provided by the celebrity. In the absence of this, it is likely that individuals will be enticed to go on gambling apps without realizing the financial and habit-forming risks associated with such actions. The regulator must carefully examine this matter.

Results indicated that the affected were a significant proportion of the Indian youth (roughly 78% of the respondents in a survey of 1004 individuals aged 17-28 years). Furthermore, the likelihood of developing an addiction to gambling apps is very high. Basis the means scores, it can be inferred that without proper statutory warnings likelihood of addiction could be found in at least two-thirds of the users of gambling apps.

At the international level, several celebrities are known to charge as much as $1 million for a single advertisement post on Instagram. Likewise, in the Indian context, estimates suggest that the amount spent on celebrity endorsements is likely to be approximately Rs 100 billion in 2021, with several celebrities charging around Rs 100 million per brand.

However, it is rare to witness any major Western celebrity endorsing alcohol, tobacco, or gambling. Even in the case of Pierce Brosnan’s (Former James Bond actor) advertisement of a Pan Masala-related product, he ended up clarifying that he was misled to advertise. Cristiano Ronaldo openly removed the bottle of Coca-Cola during a press conference and stated that he prefers water.

But Indian celebrities continue to endorse and advertise products and services that cannot be classified as healthy or judicious choices.  Some of the biggest Indian celebrities engage in surrogate advertisements for tobacco, pan masala, alcohol brands, etc. Given that Indian celebrities refuse to act responsibly in endorsing, advertising, and marketing these products and services, it only is suggested to the regulator that they ensure that these same celebrities must also give the statutory warning associated with these products and services. In the absence of this, the consumer will be enticed to consume the products and services, as a result of the celebrity endorsement effect but will not be sufficiently cautioned as the statutory message remains very dull, dreary and understated. In other words, consumers are being deluded as the full picture remains missing.

About Shweta Khandelwal

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