Kenya to launch new range of gaming advertising restrictions

Legislators in Kenya could soon be asked to vote on a raft of proposals that would look to limit the ability of the nation’s sportsbetting and gaming firms to advertise their wares over local broadcast media channels such as radio and television.

The Parliament of Kenya used an official Friday press release to assert that its Communication, Information and Innovation Committee is currently considering whether to add several amendments to the nation’s Gaming Bill of 2019 in an effort ‘to arrest the runaway emergence of betting and gaming propagated’ across the country’s broadcast media channels. The body disclosed that these deliberations are being led by Marakwet West representative William Kisang and will include engagement with multiple industry stakeholders and regulators such as the Communication Authority of Kenya and the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

Rapid revolution:

The drive to limit the appearance of gaming and sportsbetting-related television and radio advertisements comes only two months after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) signed off on a measure that more than halved operators’ blanket tax rate to 7.5%. This was soon followed by a move from the BCLB that allowed such enterprises to begin advertising their wares subject to a range of time and message constraints.

Attached anxieties:

However, the Parliament of Kenya declared that many of its members have since become concerned about the ‘harmful effects’ such commercials could be having on ‘unsuspecting Kenyans’ and the nation’s children. The body furthermore stated that some of these representatives are now subsequently arguing that any new rules on advertising from the BCLB should be obliged to ‘harmonize with the provisions of the programming code and classification’ set by the Communication Authority of Kenya and encompass more strict watershed provisions.

Read a statement from the Parliament of Kenya…

“In what may appear to be a late discovery by regulators that broadcast stations have taken advantage of a gap within the multi-agency sector regulating regime, the Communication Authority of Kenya has now called for a multi-agency approach in addressing these issues on a continuous basis.”

Extensive evaluation:

The members of the Communication, Information and Innovation Committee are furthermore due to take evidence from the Media Council of Kenya, which regulates the ethical conduct of journalists and media practitioners, as well as the Kenya Film Classification Board before deciding on what steps to take. Their recommendations could then be inserted as amendments into the Gaming Bill, which is simultaneously undergoing a long-awaited parliamentary review that could well result in a complete regulatory overhaul and higher licensing fees alongside the establishment of a national lottery and a supreme watchdog.