The House Committee of Kenya’s National Assembly has stated that the Assembly could soon move to stop or restrain gambling activities on mainstream media.
The National Assembly is the lower law-making house of the Kenyan Parliament. The ban could be made if the House reviews the several recommendations by gambling and gaming regulatory bodies and thought leaders.
If made, gambling and gambling-related programs on television could become history.
The move follows Kenya’s first gambling advertising guidelines made by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), which regulates the whole process of gambling ads. By virtue of the guidelines, every gambling advertisement must be cleared by BCLB before it goes live.
The rules also make it mandatory for such advertisements to be aired at certain times of the day while the wordings and messages must be responsible and rational.
The National Assembly’s Committee on Information, Communication, and Innovation has been considering this idea of overhauling gambling legislation to nip in the bud unlawful gambling advertisements in the media. And provide regulations to help bolster those of the BCLB.
At a briefing of the Committee, the BCLB, and the communication regulator, the legislators pointed out the harmful influence gambling advertisements can have over children, stressing addiction and other socially unacceptable behaviors.
Part of the Committee’s concern was over the growing number of betting operator licenses issued by the BCLG, which has seen a tremendous rise in gambling adverts.
While reacting, the communication regulator stressed that media companies broadcasting third-party content are legally allowed to broadcast gambling-related items, for as long as the third-party content is “honest, decent and truthful.”
What this means is that the gambling-related content must satisfy requirements of responsible reception by the audience, must have no harmful words, provide an honest position of things and be fair at all times.
According to the BCLB, even though it had warned gambling operators against certain advertisements, the duty of complying with broadcasting rules still rests on media outlets.
To further buttress its point, the BCLB noted that it had restrained 70 “unscrupulous” operators from access to M-Pesa mobile payment solutions from December 2020 to August 2021.
The Position of gambling ads in the UK
The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) provides in Rules 8 and 16 for promotional marketing and gambling respectively.
In specific terms, all gambling ads must conform to rules of social responsibility and must not be harmful to vulnerable people and players under 18.
The position of gambling ads in South Africa
South Africa’s Gambling Advertising and Exclusions Register Amendment sets out all the acceptable gambling advertising practices by media houses and betting sites in South Africa.
Accordingly, Regulation 3A of the amended Regulations provides that all gambling-related adverts must be within 20:00 on any day till 06:00 the following day.
Most importantly, the said Regulation prohibits gambling adverts on programs where children and minors are reasonably expected to be part of the audience.
Thus, it is only a matter of fair practice for Kenya to also tread the path of regulating gambling-based adverts on mainstream media.