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Why Cofek wants speed dial feature used by betting companies banned

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has gone to court seeking intervention over the introduction of a ‘speed dial’ feature used by betting companies to advertise betting, lottery, and gaming activities.

The speed dial feature is available on several internet browsers that are frequently used or most visited. The feature, which is presented in the form of visual thumbnails, allows the user to land on a betting company’s website with a single click.

According to Cofek, the use of speed dials by betting companies to spread information poses a great risk to consumers, especially minors.

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The court application filed through Cofek lawyer Lydia Kemunto accuses the Betting Control and Licensing Board, Communication Authority of Kenya, and Office of the Attorney General of neglecting their duties and allowing betting companies to use the speed dial feature.

“The respondents individually and collectively are mandated to undertake the regulation of the internet and betting which unfortunately have either been neglected and/or ignored and thus allowing unlimited, invasive and uncensored predatory advertisement,” part of the petition reads.

The application which has been approved as a matter of urgency by High Court Lady Justice Hedwig I. Ong’udi will be mentioned on September 19, 2023.

The federation stated that it raised the matter on behave of millions of consumers in the country, who feel that betting companies in the country are on the rise.

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Some of the betting firms mentioned in court documents have been accused of blatantly ignoring the regulatory body.

The federation has also expressed its displeasure with the respondents and interested parties for failing to take action, saying their inaction has caused and continues to pose great risk to minors and vulnerable people through the vice of gambling.

Cofek said the respondents in the case have individual and collective roles in monitoring the activities on the internet to safeguard Kenyans from exploitation by third parties including but not limited to internet browsers in Kenya.

Other interested parties mentioned in the case include the ICT Cabinet Secretary, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, and the Competition Authority of Kenya.

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