State introduces strict guidelines for betting adverts

The Betting Control and Licensing Board has issued new rules to curb negative effects of gambling.

Gaming and betting companies will now be required to include a warning message on the consequences of betting — similar to the caution that consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking is harmful to your health.

The message — warning also that gaming is addictive - must also constitute a third of the actual advertisement and be of the same font, according to new rules issued by the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

The Board, which is under the Ministry of Interior, directed the gaming and betting firms to comply with the regulations by May 30.

Demerit good

“We wish to remind you that gaming is a demerit good and all demerit goods have the potential to harm the consumer with the possibility of leading to addiction as well as some disorder. This Board, therefore, as a regulator of the industry, has a duty to protect its customer, members of the public, the young and vulnerable,” reads a letter signed by acting director Liti Wambua.

Mr Wambua also banned the firms from advertising before the watershed period. They are required to advertise their products and services between 6am and 10pm. The licensing board further dealt a blow on the gaming firms after it prevented them from advertising on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pininterest. Outdoor advertising for the firms has also been outlawed.

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“It has further been decided that any form of advertising of gambling has to be approved by the Board,” said Wambua. Celebrities have also been denied a piece of the gambling pie that could see them lose out on lucrative millions associated with being brand ambassadors. They were barred from endorsing gambling operations.

Some of the notable celebrities that have endorsed gaming and betting companies in Kenya are musician Kevin Wyre (SportPesa’s brand ambassador), Tottenham Hotspurs’ Victor Wanyama, who endorsed the 1xBet betting company, Joey Muthengi and footballer MacDonald Mariga, who are Betin firm ambassadors.

The board said the rules are aimed at regulating betting and gaming as well as protecting young, vulnerable customers that use the platforms.

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