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Sports federations object changes to gaming bill

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The Kenya Lionesses team displaying the SportPesa new kit during the launch.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Gaming operators in the country have been urged to come up with legislative proposal that will regulate their contribution into sports development initiatives.

Cherangany MP and 2012 Boston Marathon Champion Wesley Korir called on Association of Gaming Operators – Kenya Ronald Karauri to follow United Kingdom example where around three-quarters of UK Sport’s funds come from the lottery.

Korir noted that more than 4,500 athletes including Tom Daley, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah are beneficiaries from the lottery.

“We can use it to develop Olympians in swimming, boxing, athletics, cycling and football, I think if you can purpose it for that it will be the best thing,” Korir said.

They were speaking when the game operators and sports federation heads appeared before the National Assembly Labour and Social Welfare Committee to submit the objection to the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bill.

Sports Federation in the country have objected to the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Amendment Bill saying it will have negative impact to development of various sporting disciplines in the country.

Kenya Premier League Head of Logistics Frank Okoth and Kenya Rugby Union Secretary General Geoffrey Gangla said various sports discipline have experienced rapid growth due to the partnership which touches on the very core of the games development and sustainability.

“For example in the Kenyan Premier League we have 18 teams and all the players have salaries now. If the bill is passed the way it is, it will have a major effect and it will close shop for many. There is a real impact that they (betting companies) are making to take this game to the next level because unfortunately the government only puts money when there is Olympics,” Okoth stated.

Online gaming companies have since last year engaged over two billion shillings of their revenues in funding sporting activities in football, rugby and boxing.

-By Laban Wanambisi-

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