To bet or not to bet? Kenyan legislatures to control the betting industry

Kenyan parliament in session PHOTO COURTESY:

Betting is quite a household name in Kenya -age not withstanding. The sudden increase of betting companies-with new entrants joining the market as with time- has since attracted the attention of legislatures.
Parliamentarians have now moved in to enact an amendment that will see the government reap heavily from the betting industry.

The betting, lottery and gaming bill was moved to the floor of the house by Gem MP, Jakoyo Midiwo. The amendment is set to introduce, among other issues, a clause that will see betting licenses being owned by Kenyan citizens.

This has seen some of the license owners result to marrying Kenyans in a bid to acquire Kenyan citizenship.

According to the Mp, the recent reports in the media where Kenyans have compromised their lives due to gambling brings about the need to control the betting industry.


Top among the agendas in the bill is the issue of money laundering and tax evasion. This arises from the fact that the betting industry is largely controlled by foreign companies which make little contribution to the economy through taxes.

A leading betting company is said to have paid the taxman 85 Million in taxes in a year despite making over 500 million in a day. It is not clear who licenses online betting.

Countries like Russia, England and the USA have gone on record for regulating the betting industry to protect their citizens.

Questions have been raised as to why one of the foreign betting companies would sponsor a foreign team with billions of money only to contribute uniforms to a local team. It is very clear where their interest lies.

Over 50 thousand Chinese slot machines are said to have made their way into the Kenyan market. The owners of the machines (purportedly Chinese) are also reaping heavily from this, a business the legislature says can contribute heavily to the economy if laws are enacted to control it.

The slot machines are quite popular in street corners and are rumored to have rendered majority of the youths unproductive as they fight to eke a living from luck.


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