Win for betting firms as court quashes ads ban

The Government suffered a huge blow in its bid to control the betting craze after the High Court quashed a ban on outdoor and online advertisement of gambling.

Justice John Mativo ruled that the ban issued by the Betting Control and Licensing Board, which also required betting firms to display a warning message in their adverts about the consequences of gambling, was unconstitutional, illegal and procedurally unfair.

His decision was a big win for the Outdoor Advertising Association of Kenya who had argued in their application that the directive was unreasonable, inconsiderate and would lead to loss of millions of shillings through lost opportunities.

“A declaration is issued declaring that the BCLB directive on April 30 banning outdoor advertising for gambling firms was null and void on grounds that it was tainted with illegality, irrationality, unreasonableness and procedural impropriety,” ruled Mativo.

BCLB had, in a bid to control the betting craze, imposed a ban on outdoor advertising for gambling and directed that they must approve all forms of advertising before it is displayed to the public.

The agency also directed that all gambling adverts must contain warning messages about the consequences and its addictiveness which had to constitute a third of the actual advertisement.

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But Justice Mativo ruled that BCLB acted beyond its powers since the functions of approving adverts was not the function of the Ministry of Interior.

“Public bodies, no matter how well intentioned, can only do what the law empowers them to do. For their decision to stand, it had to be grounded in law,” ruled Mativo.

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Betting Control and Licensing BoardHigh Courtgambling