There has been a lot going on in Kenya’s gambling industry. May was a busy month – a lot happening, both in the court and in the government’s decision making chambers.
It started with Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) introducing stricter gambling advertising laws which not only banned all outdoor gambling-related adverts, but it also banned any celebrity endorsement of gambling products or services. Moreover, any gambling ad to be aired was to get a prior confirmation from the gambling authority.
While the stakeholders in the gambling industry were given until May to comply with the new gambling advertisement regulations, the new regulations were challenged in the court.
Celebrity Musician, Murigi Wanjohi, knocked the doors of the Kenya High Court and contested that the new gambling adverts regulation which called for ‘no celebrity endorsement of gambling products and services’ an infringement on his right to livelihood – the court agreed and temporarily suspended the ban.
Following the Murigi’s lawsuit, on Tuesday, Justice Mativo, ruled that the new regulations that were brought in by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), earlier this month, were not according to the constitutional provisions – therefore unconstitutional.
In the government also deported 17 workers of the executive level who were illegally working in the country’s gambling industry.
Now, the government is introducing Gaming Bill 2019, which will make it even more difficult for gambling operators in Kenya. It is also aimed at deterring the local population from participating in gambling activities.
The new bill revises the minimum betting limit for locals from KES 1 to KES 50 (approx. $0.50). The bill would be presented for first reading the coming week; if passed into law, it will replace the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966.