Advertisers Express Fear of Revenue Drop After New Rules on Betting Commercials

Kenyan Youths on Betting

The Association of Practitioners in Advertising an Umbrella body of advertisers in Kenya have finally weighed in on the proposed rules and regulations by the Betting Control and Licensing Board memo dated 30thn April 2019.

According to the advertisers, the amendments on regulations their products and services was done without input from stakeholders a move which they said will greatly affect revenues in the gaming industry.

“We understand the need for regulation around communications for products and services that can be construed to cause changes in behavior. In this instance, however, there was absolutely no consultation with stakeholders in the industry,’’ the advertisers said in a joint statement.

While advertising for gaming and gambling is the second largest tax revenue generator in the media industry, with the prevailing restrictions, the impact will trickle down to the economy, driving the advertising for these products offshore, and depriving the exchequer of tax cash of local advertising which will, in turn, contribute to capital flight.

As explained in their joint press statement, 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 while stifling competition and innovation in the betting sector.

At the beginning of 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 and banned any endorsement of gambling operations by celebrities.

The advertisers are asking the board to convene an industry stakeholder forum and dialogue to deliberate on measures that can be taken to control advertisement by the gaming industry. They have also proposed the formation of a central gaming player database by the betting board, clearly stating its objectives.