Three Kenyan lobby groups have taken the matter of increased gambling, sports betting, lottery, and gaming advertising in the media during the watershed period between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM to court.
The three campaigner groups – the African Center for Corrective and Preventive Action (ACCPA), the Center for Accountability Reform and Democracy, and Stand Against Gambling Addiction – claim that a bunch of media hubs, such as television and radio stations, have been lately advertising and promoting gambling services during their daily programs during the aforementioned watershed period. The organisations have taken the Kenyan Government to court, alleging that local lawmakers have failed to properly regulate gambling advertising practices in the country.
In the documents filed to the court, the campaigner groups say gambling, sports betting and lottery operators and companies have been excessively utilizing modern telecommunication platforms in Kenya to promote their services and target local customers. They claim that the proliferation of gambling advertising in the country has resulted in “unhealthy competition” that has eventually driven many operators into targeting underage individuals as part of their customer base against the law.
The same allegations apply to social media influencers and marketers of gambling, betting, gaming, and lottery services. According to the three campaigner groups, the proliferation of gambling in Kenya combined with constantly increasing gambling advertising in the local media is likely to make local children more exposed to the detrimental impact of the services, along with financial ruin.
The petition of the three organisations is currently awaiting a hearing.
Protecting Children and Vulnerable People from Accessing Gambling Ads Is Matter of Utter Urgency, Campaigners Claim
The public interest lawsuit was filed in Nairobi’s Milimani High Court. The litigation alleges that Kenyan authorities have done nothing to prevent gambling operators to break the law by advertising their services on various media channels during the watershed period from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
In their petition to the court, campaigners claim that Government agencies such as the Communication Authority of Kenya and the Betting Control and Licensing Board have neglected the potential harm that can be inflicted as a result of gambling and also failed to prevent the broadcasting of gambling-related adverts and programs at times when underage individuals and more vulnerable people are likely to watch.
According to the petition, the open advertising of gaming, gambling, sportsbook, and lottery services and the distribution of gambling-related information to minors contravene the Enabling Act and poses a significant risk to the health, life and welfare of Kenyan minors. The participation or involvement of underage individuals in gambling puts their safety, health and socio-economic interests in danger, the three campaign groups claim in their court documents, saying that such serious law violations put a whole generation at risk of gambling and other related social ills.
The groups’ petition seeks the court to issue an interim order preventing gambling-related adverts and programs’ broadcasts during the set watershed periods. It also seeks the court to ban the issuance and renewal of operating licenses held by broadcasters that air gambling-related advertisements during that period.
The three campaigner groups have asked the court to ban the granting and renewal of gambling licenses that require a special regulatory and legal audit, and a compliance report.
The organisations, who have started litigation against the Kenyan Government, want to see the enforcement of provisions of a bunch of laws regulating both the gaming and the broadcasting sectors, such as the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the Kenya Information and Communication Act, and the Children Act. According to the three groups, the Government’s alleged failure to roll out effective measures to protect local children from gambling may contribute to deteriorating the already existing “children gambling disorder” crisis.