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Kenya suspends gambling ad ban after musician complains

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NAIROBI (Reuters) – A Kenyan judge suspended a ban on gambling ads on Monday after a musician complained it robbed him of his right to make celebrity endorsements, court papers showed.

The government brought in a raft of new regulations this month – including bans on such endorsements and advertising on social media – saying the rapidly growing industry was harming the young and the poor.

But musician, Muriji Kamau Wanjohi launched a legal challenge days after the restrictions were imposed, calling them “irrational and unreasonable”, court papers showed.

He argued that the ban deprived him of income since he “earns a living thorough endorsement of products and services due to his influence and celebrity status”.

“My client’s economic rights and those of other celebrities’ were in danger,” Wanjohi’s lawyer Dennis Murithi told Reuters.

Nairobi high court judge James Makau ruled on Monday that the new regulations should be halted until the musician’s petition had been considered, according to the court documents.

The gaming industry in Kenya has grown substantially over the last five years, to 200 billion shillings (1.55 billion pounds) from 2 billion, the interior ministry says.

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Elias Biryabarema)

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