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Radio Lotteries And Prize Competitions Banned Over Fraud

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Radio Lotteries Ban: Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) has banned radio stations from running lotteries and prize competitions, turning off a key revenue steam for the radio stations. BCLB says some radio stations have gone against their licences to conduct “unauthorised gaming activities”.

This, it says, has also affected the general messaging of prize competitions and lotteries to a menial “send and win that” without informing the public what competition or lottery they are engaging in. “This situation has turned some radio stations into betting shops while totally disregarding the watershed hours and the gaming advertisement guidelines,” the board said in a statement.

However, stations with a gaming permit will be allowed to run lotteries. “Permit holders will conduct draws witnessed by officers of the Board as per the law and only engage radio stations for normal advertisements as per the prevailing advertisement conditions,” the statement says.

In a letter to all radio stations, BCLB said that Prize Competition license holders have been misusing the permits by getting into agreements with radio stations to undertake the draws on their behalf.

“Radio stations will not be allowed to carry out any lottery or prize competition draw unless the said radio station has a gaming permit,” BCLB says. “License holder will conduct draws witnessed by the officers from the Board as per the law and only engage radio stations for normal advertisement/promotion as per the prevailing advertisement conditions.”

The move is a blow to radio stations which had turned to lotteries to shore up revenues as business struggles with the effects of Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly every radio station in Kenya runs a lottery or prize competition where listeners are asked to send in cash to a paybill number to stand a chance to win.

Most of these lotteries and competitions are not held in a transparent manner, often left to radio presenters to pick winners, a loophole for fraud and conspiracies.

The regulatory body added that the paybill account numbers used in the competition must be in the name of the entity carrying out the promotion and not the radio station to help in monitoring the licence holders. Failure to adhere to the new directive, license holders will have their permits withdrawn and action taken against radio stations involved.

BCLB said the misuse of the prize competition licences has turned radio station into betting hubs. Some radio presenters are paid commissions to encourage them to entice listeners into betting their money.

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