Kenya, like many other countries around the world, is facing challenges in regulating gambling. Therefore, a bill has been introduced in 2023 that aims to increase control over the industry and create a new body to regulate it. The Bill, which is currently before Parliament, represents an important step in developing legality and transparency in gambling in Kenya.
Under the proposals of the Bill, the new gambling regulatory body will replace the current Betting, Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). It will be an update of the legislative framework for gambling regulation that will allow for more effective and strict control of the industry.
Combating the “gray” sector of gambling and prohibiting access to minors
The new Gambling Control Bill recently introduced in Kenya is generating a lot of interest and discussion. The Bill represents a significant change in the approach to gambling regulation in the country and means major changes to the board.
At the moment, illegal gambling operators thrive in Kenya. Many Kenyans play in foreign casinos; for example, right here, you can find casinos for Canadian dollars that accept different players, including their Kenyan counterparts.
Previous allegations that many gambling operators in Kenya are not complying with licensing requirements catalyzed this new Bill. It will significantly expand the powers of the board, giving it more tools to deal with unscrupulous operators and violators of gambling laws.
An important feature of the regulation is the introduction of new measures to increase fines and tax penalties for gambling offenses. This is a deliberate effort to increase the liability of operators and make it unprofitable to violate legislation in this area.
In addition, the new Bill prohibits minors from taking part in gambling activities, which is an important step toward protecting young people from potential addiction and involvement in gambling.
New law – new taxes
One of the key changes proposed in the Bill is the requirement for licensed operators to have at least 30% of their shares owned by Kenyan citizens. This is aimed at strengthening the local economy and ensuring local participation in the business of gambling, creating more opportunities for local people.
Also, an important element of the Bill is the requirement that all organizations conduct financial transactions through a bank registered in Kenya. This will help ensure greater financial scrutiny and improve transparency in the gambling industry.
The Bill also proposes the posting of a bank guarantee or insurance bond to cover any unlicensed gambling activities. This is an additional security measure that will strengthen controls and provide compensation in the event of a breach of the law.
In addition, the Bill proposes significant contribution amounts for casinos and online sports betting and lotteries, which represents a significant financial cost for operators. It also proposes that a minimum of one-third of the proceeds must be donated to charitable causes, promoting social responsibility and financial support for community programs and those in need.
A 15% gross gaming revenue tax and the introduction of a monthly gambling fee determined by local districts also represent significant changes in the taxation of gambling.
The Gambling Control Bill presented represents an important step towards a more responsible and sustainable gambling industry in Kenya. It aims to establish a stricter system of control over operators and ensure public welfare through charitable and social programs.