The Kenya Betting and Licensing Board has with immediate effect directed all the betting firms cease from using the speed dial browser internet feature citing that they are against the law.
According to a reply letter to a demand letter issued by COFEK to BLCB on August 7, BLCB says that it has been disturbed by the decision by the betting firm to use the speed dial internet feature hence exposing the public to some illegal advertisement that can sway people’s behaviour.
“ It has come to the attention of the board that some betting firms are advertising using the speed dial browser internet feature without its authorization , the board is also aware, the internet hosts notable advertisements which can sway behaviour change,” said the BLCB In a letter signed by its director P.K Mbugi.
BLCB has also directed that it will take action to all be betting forms that will fail to comply with the same.
“The Borad in Conjunction with the communication Authority of Kenya is consulting so as to give advertising guidelines for the digital frame work, it is against this background that the board demands that all the gaming operators cease the use of speed dial browser internet feature, offered specifically by the Opera Browser and other browser providers within the next seven days from the the date of this circular” it said.
It added, ” We therefore gives seven days to all the gaming operators to comply with the directive, the board anticipates with this directive failure to which ,will amount to non-compliance with your operating requirements and it shall not hesitate to take necessary legal action and administrative action.
The decision comes after COFEK yesterday wrote a demand letter in which it called out the betting control and licencing board (BCLB) for allowing predator advertisement, threatens to Sue.
The Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) wrote the demand letter to the betting and licencing board (BCLB) giving it seven days to act and tame predator advertisement that have continued running in some of the media platforms.
In a letter addressed to the BLCB chairperson Dr.Jane Makau which was also copied to the communication Authority of Kenya Secretary General Ezra Chiloba, COFEK threatened to take a legal action if the board fails to act with seven days.
” Take notice that if you do not comply with the afore mentioned Demands, within the next seven days, as a matter of public interest we shall swiftly, and without any further reference to you, institute such legal action without further reference to yourselves,”. The letter read in part.
COFEK says in the letter that BLCB has failed to control speed dial browser despite them containing, TV, radios, outdoor, and print.
” While guidelines for advertising mediums such as TV, radio, out door and print were well detailed in the BCLB’s advertising regulations dated 12/July ,2021 as contained under Ref: BCLB 8/71 VOL.1(46), speed dial browser internet appears to be an exception. These guidelines set out specific timeframes, advertising content, and context in which betting companies can advertise their services, with focus on responsible gaming message and restrictions around children’s shows, religious programs and family shows,” the letter reads in part.
COFEK says that for instance the channels exempted like Opera host significant advertising activities and are instrumental in swaying behavioural change.
COFEK says that Opera has introduced a ” speed dial” feature specifically curated for the Kenyan market. This offending feature, sponsored by betting firms ( your licences) ensures these betting services are prominently displayed, regardless of the user’s age, religion and other diversities. It particularly creates a significant risk to Millions of minors with and or those who can intermittently access smartphones access- either with and or without express permission of their parents and guardians,” the letter reads in parts.
COFEK says that the constitution protects a child from such advertisement.
It also quotes the constitution and every bits in which the BCLB has violated