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Doom for Betting Firms if proposed Bill passes

Lawmakers are trying to discourage Kenyans from joining the betting craze by introducing tough tax measures and minimum bets to regulate the industry.

For the first time, betting firms in the country will be required to pay Sh100 million for gaming securities, to serve as a cushion to gamblers should the betting firms refuse to pay a ‘windfall’.

This is in addition to an annual licence fee of Sh30 million.

Currently, firms operating public gaming (casinos) pay a Sh1 million application fee, Sh3 million licence fee, Sh500,000 annual licence and Sh25,000 for licence renewal.

As a strategy to keep away young gamblers, the bill raises the bar for minimum bet to Sh50. Currently one can bet with one shilling through some betting firms such as Betpawa.

Royal Media’s Shabiki allows gamblers to spend Sh20, with a possibility of winning a Sh20 million jackpot.

The Bill, due to be tabled when Parliament reconvenes next week, will further restrict Kenyans’ access to foreign gaming sites.

This will ensure cash is retained within the country and not given away.

Betting and sports –related sites dominated the top internet search querries in Kenya in 2018, a new report showed, pointing to a gambling craze in the country.

A massive 11 of the top 20 google search queries were directly related to bettiong, according to an annual report for 2019 by Hootsuite and We Are Social.

SportPesa, a leading betting site, emerged at the top of most searched topics. Among the top sports gambling related sites that featured in the list include Livescore (3), Betpawa (5), Betin (7), Prediction (8), Betika (9) and SportPesa Login (10).

Others are Forebet (13), Livescore CZ (17), SportPesa Livescore (19) and Games (20).

However, this may come to an end soon if the proposed Gaming Bill 2019 published on Tuesday will come to fruition.