Watchdog f****s betting ads on Opera browsers

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 02:00 | By
Sports betting.
Sports betting. PHOTO/Courtesy

Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has decried the use of a speed dial feature in browsers, saying they entice children to betting thereby exposing them to exploitation and potential harm. 

The federation fingered Opera and Opera Mini as some of the browsers operating the offending speed dial feature in the country.

In a letter addressed to the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BC&LB), Cofek demanded that the board immediately issue a cease-and-desist directive to all browser operators within the Republic of Kenya including Opera and Opera Mini.

Browser operators

Cofek also wants BC&LB to compel browser operators drawing income from betting companies within Kenya to remit commensurate applicable taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority.

Additionally, the federation demanded that browsers immediately cease and desist from imposing content and advertisement on internet users and minors within Kenya.

It said based on research and consultation with line experts, it can confirm that browser providers such as Opera have introduced a “speed dial” feature specifically curated for the Kenyan market.  “This offending feature, sponsored by betting firms (your licensees) ensures these betting services are prominently displayed regardless of the user’s age, religion and other diversities,” the letter reads in part.

Cofek observed that while the law shields children from exploitation, features that prioritize betting sites expose them to potential serious and irreversible harms. By Law, anyone under the age of 18 years is a child.

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