Ditch the speed dial, says Kenyan regulator

Shirley Pulis Xerxen 2 months ago
Ditch the speed dial, says Kenyan regulator

The Kenyan regulator, the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) issued a cautionary letter to all licensees, demanding immediate compliance with a court directive to cease the use of the ‘speed dial’ feature on internet browsers. This directive, primarily targeting operators utilizing platforms like the Opera Mini Browser and Google, follows a High Court order and advocacy efforts by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK).

BCLB’s Director, Peter Mbugi (pictured above), has issued a clear ultimatum to all gaming operators through a letter dated February 16, 2024. Failure to adhere to this directive will result in the regulator pursuing contempt of court charges against the non-compliant entities. Mbugi’s communication referenced the Board’s previous circular dated August 11, 2023, outlining the concerns regarding the ‘speed dial’ feature and underlining the court order issued on January 16, 2024.

The move by BCLB aligns with the advocacy efforts of COFEK, which highlighted concerns regarding the indiscriminate targeting of Kenyan internet users, irrespective of age, by betting firms exploiting the ‘speed dial’ feature. COFEK’s petition expressed worry over the ease with which underage individuals could access betting services through this feature, potentially exposing them to the risks associated with gambling.

Affected gaming companies, including prominent names like Betika, OdiBets Kenya, Sportpesa, Peteta, and 1XBET Kenya, have been instructed to promptly cease the use of the ‘speed dial’ feature to comply with the court order and regulatory directives. The continuous display of betting advertisements through this feature raises significant concerns regarding the protection of vulnerable internet users, particularly minors.

COFEK’s assertion that browser providers like Opera Mini have introduced a ‘speed dial’ feature specifically catering to the Kenyan market reveals    the urgency of addressing this issue. The visual thumbnails presented by the ‘speed dial’ feature facilitate quick access to betting sites, potentially exposing users to gambling content without appropriate safeguards.

BCLB’s acknowledgment of the detrimental impact of the ‘speed dial’ feature on internet users underscores the need for swift and decisive action. By enforcing compliance with the court directive, BCLB aims to protect consumers, particularly vulnerable segments of the population, from the risks associated with unchecked exposure to gambling content online.

As gaming operators grapple with regulatory pressures and heightened scrutiny, the implementation of measures to ensure responsible advertising and consumer protection remains paramount. The collaboration between regulatory bodies like BCLB and advocacy groups like COFEK signifies a collective commitment to safeguarding the interests of consumers and promoting responsible gaming practices in Kenya.

SiGMA Africa

With less than a month until the highly anticipated SiGMA Africa event kicks off in Cape Town, South Africa on the 11th of March, the gaming industry is abuzz with excitement. SiGMA Group recognizes the need to foster collaboration and innovation within the industry. By bringing together leading stakeholders and visionaries in gaming, SiGMA aims to catalyse progress and propel Africa and Eurasia towards a new era of prosperity and opportunity. As the countdown to the events begin, anticipation mounts for what promises to be two landmark gatherings of and trailblazers.

SiGMA Eurasia

The fourth edition of SiGMA Eurasia will once again be held at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Held between the 25 and 27 February 2024, the summit provides invaluable opportunities for attendees to network with industry professionals, gain exposure to the latest tech and innovations in the sector, meet key decision makers, and gain insight into new markets.  

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