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Court temporarily halts ban on betting adverts

Monday May 20 2019

BETTING

Kenyans place their bets at one of the many betting spots in Nairobi on July 30, 2016, along Market Street. Court has temporarily suspended new rules that bar endorsement of bets and their firms by celebrities. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The High Court has temporarily suspended the directive that banned celebrities from participating in gambling advertisements.

The ban had been put in place by the Betting Control and Licensing Board in a bid to curb addiction on gambling.

But Justice James Makau issued the order after an artiste moved to court claiming that 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 competitions,” said Justice Makau.

The ban, which was to take effect on May 30, had stopped outdoor advertisements of gambling and advertising on social media.

Celebrities had also been barred from endorsing gambling operations.

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Broadcast of betting advertisements had been restricted to between 10pm and 6am.

'IRRATIONAL'

The suit was filed by Mr 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.

According to the artiste, as someone involved in recording, performing and distribution of music, the said decision was irrational.

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

Even though the definition of a celebrity is in dispute, celebrities have been granted a leeway to continue endorsing gambling and betting advertisements.