Kenya: Reprieve for Betting Firms As Court Quashes Ban Restricting Outdoor Advertising

Kenyans place their bets at one of the many betting spots in Nairobi on July 30, 2016, along Market Street.

Nairobi — Betting firms got a reprieve after the High Court quashed the ban and regulations restricting outdoor advertising of gambling by the Betting Control and Licencing Board.

Justice John Mativo set aside the April 30 directive by the board declaring it illegal, irrational and unreasonable.

In his finding following a petition by Outdoor Advertising Association of Kenya opposing the recent rules, justice Mativo stated that the purported regulations were adopted and effected in a manner that is not consistent with the Constitution.

One of the requirements that has been nullified is giving the board the power to approve any form of advertisement of gambling.

And that such an advertisement must contain a warning message about the consequence of gambling, its addictiveness which must constitute a third of the actual advertisement.

Consequently, the board has been prohibited from implementing the ban.

"I find that the impugned decision was adopted in a manner that was procedurally unfair. I find no difficulty in concluding that the applicant has demonstrated the existence of procedural impropriety in the manner in which the decision was arrived at," justice Mativo ruled.

The board had in the directive also banned advertising of gambling on all social media platforms between 6am and 10pm and endorsement of its operations by celebrities.

While objecting to the rules, lawyer Nelson Havi argued that some of its members have existing contracts and obligations to various betting companies and stand to suffer irreparable loss.

He further contended that Interior CS Fred Matiangi under whose docket the requirements were to be implemented has no authority under the Gaming Act.

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