• Body says BCLB did not consult key stakeholders, which is detrimental to good governance and outside the spirit of inclusivity.
• BCLB also banned endorsement of gambling operations by celebrities.
The Association of Practitioners in Advertising has condemned proposed regulations on betting advertisements, terming them dictatorial and bad for business.
The umbrella body of advertising agencies in Kenya said Kenya Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) did not consult key stakeholders, which is detrimental to good governance and outside the spirit of inclusivity.
"We understand the need for regulation around communications for products and services that can be construed to cause changes in behaviour. In this instance, however, there was absolutely no consultation with stakeholders in the industry,’’ the association said in a joint statement.
The advertisers warned that proposed restrictions will not only deny revenue to media houses but also hurt the country’s revenue collection
"Advertising for gaming and gambling products is the second largest sector in terms of revenue to the media industry and restricting this will have a major effect on revenues to the sector, and attendant economic impact especially on tax revenues,’’ advertisers said.
The association added that the restrictions will drive the advertising for these products offshore, and deprive the exchequer of tax cash from local advertising and contribute to capital flight.
It explained that the gaming industry is well established and that restrictions on the advertising will benefit the big players as they already have a captive customer base which they reach directly.
Early this month, the betting board announced a ban on advertising and gambling on all social media platforms to take effect at the end of May. It also restricted outdoor advertising and banned advertising between 6 am and 10 pm.
In a notice signed by the Acting Director Liti Wambua, the board further banned any endorsement of gambling operations by celebrities.
All advertisements must be approved by the board and must contain a warning to the public of its consequences.
"The warning message must constitute a third of the actual advertisement and be of the same font," part of the statement read.