Three lobby groups have filed lawsuits against the Kenyan government over the increased promotion of gaming, betting, and lotteries in the media from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m watershed period. Lobby Groups Court Gaming
According to the African Centre for Corrective & Preventive Action (ACCPA), Stand Against Gambling Addiction, and the Centre for Accountability Reform and Democracy, a number of media outlets (radio and television stations) have recently been promoting and advertising gambling during watershed periods on their daily programs.
The lobby groups filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly not controlling gambling marketing.
There has been a mushrooming of betting, lottery and gaming companies and operators who utilise modern telecommunication platforms. The proliferation has led to unhealthy competition and a race to the bottom. The resultant cut-throat competition has driven many into engaging children as part of their clientele, marketers and influencers of betting, lottery and gaming, contrary to the law.claims the groups in filed case
They claim that the rise in the promotion of gaming activities through media advertising exposes minors to the risk of financial disaster.
The lobby groups claim in the petition that, in violation of the law, government organizations like the Communication Authority of Kenya and the Betting Control and Licensing Board have neglected or been unable to stop the broadcasting of gambling-related programs at times when children are likely to watch or participate.
The Milimani High Court in Nairobi received the public interest lawsuit. It claims that by publicizing their operations in the media during the watershed time, gambling operators were given permission by the authorities to break the law.
The open advertising of betting, lottery and gaming activities and the dissemination of related information to minors in contravention of the Enabling Act poses a grave risk to the life, health and welfare of children in the country. The involvement or participation of minors in gambling endangers their health, safety and socio-economic interests. There is an imminent danger of losing a generation to gambling and other related social ills.read the petition.
The organizations are requesting that the court impose an interim order prohibiting the airing of gambling-related programs and commercials during watershed periods while the petition is being decided. This request is being made through attorney Mbiyu Kamau.
Additionally, they are asking the court to halt the issuance, renewal, and use of licenses by broadcasters who run gambling-related shows and commercials during watershed times.
The lobby groups further want the court to halt the issue and renewal of gaming licenses awaiting the completion of an audit and compliance report on legal and regulatory compliance.
The petition asks that certain legal requirements governing the gaming and broadcasting industries be put into effect. These laws include the Kenya Information and Communication Act, the Children Act, the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act, and the Consumer Protection Act.
The respondents have neglected and or failed to carry out their obligation to ensure compliance with the enabling statutory law and regulate the gambling sector effectively. They have failed and neglected to put effective mechanisms to enable persons affected by gambling addiction, either directly or indirectly, to access the necessary treatment and restitution for damage incurred.read the petition.
The petitioners claim that the government’s alleged inability to enforce the laws against child gambling may have helped to foster the conditions that eventually led to the “child gambling disorder” disaster.
A hearing on the petition is imminent.
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