The High Court has declared a directive banning outdoor gambling and betting advertisements unconstitutional.
The ban, which was to take effect on May 30, was issued by the Betting Control and Licencing board in bid to control gambling addiction especially by the youth in the country.
According to Justice John Mativo, the ban was tainted with illegality and unreasonableness and procedural impropriety.
The decision followed a case filed by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Kenya.
“I hold that the applicant has satisfied the conditions for granting the orders sought,” Justice Mativo ruled.
Further, the court declared null and void a directive that any form of advertisements be approved and contain a warning message about the consequences of gambling including its addiction.
Justice Mativo stated that the functions in question are vested on the County Government of Nairobi and not the ministry.
“It follows that the impugned decisions contained in the letter dated 30th April signed by one Liti Wambua and the communication dated Thursday may 2nd lack legal basis, hence it is ultra vires and therefore null and void. It is tainted with illegality. It cannot stand court scrutiny,” the court ruled.
The applicant had condemned the regulations on betting advertisements, terming them dictatorial and bad for business.
“The decision prohibits outdoor advertising with immediate effect and yet it purports to invite views from stakeholders of the outdoor advertising industry on a decision that has already been made,” the applicants said.
The suit listed BCLB Chairman Cyrus Maina, CEO Liti Wambua and Attorney General as respondents, but none of them filed a response.
The decision comes at a time Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has declared war against illegal gambling in the country.
17 foreigners, who were operating the business without valid permits, were last week deported following the CS’s order.