Kenyan Parliament is working on a new Gambling Control Bill that would establish a Gambling Regulatory Authority to oversee the country’s gambling market. If approved, the new bill will replace the current regulator, the Betting, Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).
The proposed Gambling Control Bill 2023 seeks to consolidate the Board’s existing responsibilities into the new Authority. This includes the regulation of betting, casinos, and other forms of gambling, as well as the authorization of prize competitions, public lotteries, and media promotions. The bill is being sponsored by National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah.
The new legislation aims to address the previous non-compliance issues within the gambling sector by introducing a range of measures to ensure that gambling stakeholders adhere to licensing requirements. These measures include higher gambling taxes, stricter fines for violations, and a prohibition on children’s participation in gambling activities.
The bill also includes provisions such as setting the minimum wagering deposits at KES20 (approximately $0.13) and imposing hefty penalties for any violations. Additionally, it bans radio and TV stations from airing gambling advertisements between 6 am and 10 pm. The bill also requires that Kenyan citizens hold a minimum of 30% shares in companies licensed for gambling operations and mandates that all gambling-related transactions be conducted through banks registered in Kenya.
As a further commitment to legal compliance, the bill requires gambling entities to deposit a bank guarantee or insurance bond to cover any failures to comply with the license terms. Casino operators will be required to deposit KES20 million (approximately $131,500), while online sports betting and lottery operators will need to deposit KES200 million (approximately $1.3 million).
The new Gambling Authority will also oversee the licensing of lotteries, with a minimum of 30% of their revenues going towards charitable purposes. It will be tasked with ensuring the compliance of all gambling stakeholders and imposing fines and penalties for any violations. The bill also introduces a 15% tax on gross gambling revenues to replace the current 7.5% tax on betting stakes.
Overall, the proposed Gambling Control Bill 2023 aims to reform the gambling sector in Kenya by addressing compliance issues, imposing stricter regulations, and introducing a new tax system. If approved, it is expected to bring about significant changes to the country’s gambling industry.