• Musician who endorses betting sued control board for banning him from appearing in commercials.
• Claims decision was made without involving all stakeholders in gaming industry such as celebrities, media and advertising companies.
Betting firms have got temporary reprieve after the High Court on Monday suspended implementation of the Betting Control and Licensing Board directive on advertising.
Last month, BCLB issued a directive banning all outdoor advertisements of gambling.
Advertising of gambling on all social media platforms, ads on gambling between 6am and 10pm and endorsement of gambling by celebrities was outlawed.
Justice James Makau stopped the BCLB from implementing the directive dated April 30 that banned advertising and endorsements of betting, lottery, gaming and prize competitions.
“Pending hearing and determination this petition, court has suspended the implementation of the decision of the Betting Control and Licensing Board issued by the CEO of board touching on advertisement and endorsements of betting, lottery, gaming and prize competitions,” the order reads.
The directive issued by the board was to take effect on May 30 and all betting firms were expected to comply.
In the case, a musician who endorses betting sued the BCLB for banning him from appearing in commercials.
He has also sued board chairman Cyrus Maina and CEO Liti Wambua for allegedly infringing on his rights.
Murigi Wanjohi alias MC Moreydoc argues that he earns a living through endorsement of products and services due to his influence and celebrity status. Banning him is unconstitutional.
He says the decision is irrational and unreasonable since it was not subjected to public participation.
Wanjohi argues BCLB has no power to dictate the form of advertisements or even who should appear or not appear in the ads.
He also argues that advertising is a devolved function under the Constitution and the board does not issue licenses to third parties involved in advertisement with gaming/lottery companies and therefore cannot purport to interfere with contracts they are not privy to.
“The decision was made without involving all stakeholders in the gaming industry, all persons affected by the same decision, celebrities, the media, the advertising industry,” he claims.
He further says the decision did not take into account existing contracts between companies in the gaming industry, the media and third parties who appear in those adverts.
The short notice of less than one month within which it is to be complied with is unreasonable, he says.
In his view as a performing artist and a celebrity, banning endorsements of gambling operations is discriminatory.
He says the decision bars him from earning a livelihood through endorsements and advertisement thereby denying him full and equal enjoyment of his economic and social rights.