20 May 2019

Kenya: Reprieve for Mariga and Other Kenyan Betting Celebs

Kenyan football star Macdonald Mariga and other celebrities who have been promoting betting firms have been offered a lifeline after the High Court on Monday temporarily suspended a government directive banning them from endorsing this service.

This ban was announced early this month by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) in a bid to curb the increasing addiction on gambling.

However, Justice James Makau has now issued the stay of execution after an artist moved to court claiming his source of livelihood and that of others like him had been interfered with.

"Pending the hearing and determination of this case, a conservatory order is issued staying the implementation of the decision by the BCLB issued on April 30 touching on advertisement and endorsement of betting, lottery, gaming and prize competition," said Justice Makau.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

The suit was filed by Kamau Wanjohi who uses the stage name MC Moreydoc. He sued the betting board, its chairman Cyrus Maina and chief executive officer Liti Wambua and the Attorney General.

He argues that the ban was issued without having public participation and that the use of the word celebrity in the directive is vague.

The media has also earned a reprieve following Justice Makau's ruling which was to take effect on May 30, as BCLB had also barred outdoor advertisements of gambling and advertising on social media. Betting advertisements had also been restricted to between 10pm and 6am.

Media personalities Carol Radull and Joey Muthengi alongside athletes Janet Wanja and Kevin Kimani who have become the faces of betting firms adverts will certainly breathe a sigh of relief following the revelation.

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