Gambling order cuts revenue for marketers


Gamblers in a betting outlet in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Advertising firms and celebrity influencers face a substantial reduction in revenue following a new government ban on outdoor marketing of gambling activities.

The ban by Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) affects keys income sources for advertising firms including billboards, banners and motor vehicle branding.

“We wish to remind you that gaming is a demerit good and all demerit goods have the potential to harm the consumer with possibility of leading to addiction as well as some disorder,” the board’s acting director, Liti Wambua, said in a notice dated April 30 but shared widely Thursday. “The above directive must be complied with on or before May 30, 2019.”

Outdoor advertising is the fifth largest source of revenue for Nairobi County.

According to the Outdoor Advertisers Association, the minimum charge for billboards measuring 10x12 metres in Nairobi is Sh160,000.

Last month, City Hall said it has over 200,000 signage and another 1,000 large format advertisements which generate Sh700 million annually.


Ideally, they should generate Sh2 billion annually but the difference is lost largely due to corruption at City Hall.

The latest rules came a month after Interior Secretary Fred Matiang'i said all the licenses of betting firms will be suspended in July and only re-issued after the betting firms prove that they have paid their taxes.

The new rules have also banned advertising of gambling on all social media platforms and advertising of gambling activities on television and radio between 6am and 10pm.

Many betting firms in Kenya have a strong social media presence while adverts promoting have been running both within and after television watershed periods with no restrictions.

Further, endorsement of gambling operations by celebrities has also been banned, a move likely to affect the format of adverts used by Sportpesa, Betin, Betika, Betway and 1xBet. Former Harambee Stars midfielder McDonald Mariga is currently the Betin Kenya brand ambassador while Dennis Oliech, another ex-international, had a similar deal with rival betting firm Betway.


Other influencers Joey Muthengi, Janet Wanja and Carol Radull, all of who appear in gaming-related adverts.

The new rules could see them experience a drop in earnings.

The move by the Betting, Licensing and Control Board will force billboard owners to cancel gambling advertising contracts running beyond the end of this month.