Kenyan High Court Dismisses Advertisement Ban On Online Gambling

Kenyan High Court Dismisses Advertisement Ban On Online Gambling May 29, 2019 May 29, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry May 29, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton

The gambling industry in Kenya is recognized as one of the fastest growing markets in the African continent and there have been a number of pros and cons that have risen from the growing demand for gambling services in the country.

Kenya has attracted a lot of foreign operators who are keen on launching a variety of online gambling, sports betting and gambling services. This has created an influx of foreign investment, employment opportunities and taxable revenue for the government of Kenya.

However there are also concerns that gambling addiction is going out of control, especially amongst Kenyan youth who are spending a lot of their time and most of their money at these gambling parlours.

Kenya decided to impose an advertising ban on April 30 and communicated the same on May 2 to gambling operators. We take a closer look at why the gambling advertising ban was imposed in the first place.

The Kenyan government hasn’t been very happy with the gambling industry and there are two main reasons for this. The first has to deal with the fact that the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) is upset because betting operators are not paying sufficient taxes.

The BCLC wants operators to collect taxes based on the winnings from each player but so far betting operators have not collected any such taxes as they don’t find it constitutional. The matter has gone to court and no decision has been made. Till a decision is made, betting operators continue to not collect taxes on winnings and the BCLB is losing out on a lot of revenue.

The second reason has to do with the increase of problem gambling and social problems caused by the gambling industry. Kenya tried to address this by imposing a blanket ban on online gambling and betting advertisements.

Justice Mativo Throws Out Case

This gambling advertisement ban was challenged in the Kenya High Court after the Outdoor Advertising Association of Kenya filed a case. The case was heard earlier this week and Justice Mativo decided to dismiss the ban as he found it unconstitutional.

In a statement, Justice Mativo said

Upon applying the legal principles, the facts and circumstances of this case, I find that the impugned decision was adopted in a manner that was procedurally unfair.

The BCLB will not be very happy with the decision but gambling operators in the country will once again start pumping in money into their advertising campaigns.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world