70 M-Pesa Paybill Numbers Suspended In Kenya By BCLB

According to reports the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) has suspended not less than 70 M-Pesa Paybill numbers involved in unauthorized and unlicensed gaming activities carried out via broadcast channels.

The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) presented the list during a meeting with the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee of the National Assembly. The committee had instructed that the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) should provide proof showing that the unlicensed gaming or gambling activities which are being aired on TV stations and Radio stations and were using Paybill numbers provided by telecommunications companies, had been deactivated.

The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) made it known to the committee led by Mr. William Kisang, that it had told telecommunications giant; Safaricom, to deactivate the Paybill numbers in question.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB); Peter Mbugi stated that, “The board directed Safaricom PLC to suspend the…pay bill numbers on diverse dates between December 2020 and August 2021.”

He added that as at the 22nd of December 2020, the 70 Paybill numbers were suspended.

According to the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) while the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) had not yet conducted any study, it was indeed possible that the gambling activities portrayed by the media could lead to corresponding negative impacts on the general public, including children.

In the words of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), “The board has on several occasions picked this matter with media houses and has also been working with the Communications Authority (CA) to curb the unauthorised promotions and advertisements.”

He went on to inform the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee that the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) in partnership with the Communications Authority of Kenya is currently reviewing the guidelines for advertising games along with the contents, in order to address any threats or challenges that could arise.

The Acting Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya; Mercy Wanjau and the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) came before the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee to explain the thought process behind the current influx of betting and gambling advertisements on broadcast media as well as the effects on the public.

According to the committee a number of unethical operators have now been able to infiltrate the gaming sector.

The Acting Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya; Mercy Wanjau revealed to Members of Parliament that broadcasters are responsible for any and all advertising material that is aired on their various stations, stating that they must make sure all said advertisements are honest, truthful, legal, decent, and also in line with the rules of fair competition.

Mr. William Kisang made it known that the two (2) regulators should provide the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee with more information about the list of media outlets, Paybill numbers, and the period of time in which the operators have been operating the Paybill numbers.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee also requested that the regulators provide details on any of the taxes that have been evaded or avoided by operators, along with the status of the clampdown across the media platforms, on the unethical operators in the gaming sector.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee is looking to introduce a number of amendments to the existing betting and gaming law in order to arrest the fresh onslaught of gaming and betting content on numerous media platforms across the country.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee is also proposing a couple of changes as part of its measures aimed at preventing the negative effects on the public.

The committee is collecting the views of stakeholders who are involved in the regulation of the betting and gaming or gambling industry. Once done, it will then propose more amendments to the Gaming Bill, 2019 which is already set for Committee Stage in the House.

The Gaming Bill, 2019 has been approved at the Second Reading. It is now waiting for consideration at the Committee Stage.

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