BCLB Bans Radio Station from running Lottery/Betting Programs

The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) has barred radio stations from running the lottery, sports betting programs while instructing the radio stations in Kenya unless they secure prior approval.

In a statement issued to the press on Friday, July 9, BCLB Director P.K Mbugi indicated that the board was alarmed by illegal alliances between licensed lotteries holders and radio stations to run lotteries on their behalf. Mbugi argued against the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act for a media house to run such lotteries. He further said that the activities had affected the stations until they had turned some into betting shops.

“This scenario has not only provided a fertile ground for unauthorized gaming activities but has also affected the general messaging of prize competitions and lotteries to a menial “send this and win that” without informing the public what competition or lottery they are engaging in it. While to address this abuse, radio stations will not be allowed to carry out any lottery or prize competition draw unless the said radio stations have a gaming permit to do so,” – stated Mbugi.

He further highlighted that BCLB officers must witness the activities and that the stations should only be allowed to run advertisements unless they obtain proper licenses. This comes after an uproar over heightened lottery-like actions across many radio stations around the country.

Meanwhile, in June 2021, MPs reduced taxes on winnings from betting, which stood 20 per cent to 7.5 per cent. While they also reduced proposed excise taxes from 20 per cent to 7.5 per cent, it was considered a massive boost to gamblers and operators. However, several organizations have been concerned with the rise in gambling tendencies across media platforms in recent weeks. Although, to regulate the sector, the Media Council of Kenya formed a seven-member task force headed by Emmanuel Juma to review content on betting across media outlets.

A notice sighted by E-Play Africa Media and signed by MCK CEO David Omwoyo indicated that it decided after noting that the advertisement’s content did not meet the standards set by the law. The team that was set up will be expected to help regulate the industry to safeguard the information consumed by the public. The BCLB also highlighted that the promotion or advertising of gambling on media platforms is a potential public health issue. It may have a direct and material effect on gambling involvement, particularly underage.

It has been observed that some media companies are not complying with the set law by running gambling programs without licenses and advertising gambling outside watershed hours, in some cases during children’s shows. However, it is quite interesting, and this is, of course, the right direction from the regulatory authority to protect players and bring fairness to the industry, rather than operators running lottery prize competitions for gamblers without witnessing it or the authority during the process of the draws on radio stations.

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