NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 9 – The National Assembly unanimously voted to reject a motion to set up a special Select Committee to inquire into the activities of the multi-billion shilling betting and gambling industry in Kenya.
Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo had sought MPs approval to establish an 11-member House Select Committee to look into the gambling fad, which has an estimated five million Kenyans taking up betting.
The team was requesting to be given 60 days to report its findings to the House after carrying out investigations into claims of tax evasion and money laundering in some betting, gaming and casino businesses.
Midiwo reacted to the vote by saying that he will not relent on his quest to institute regulatory and institutional guidelines on the services of betting companies which are now easily available online and on mobile platforms despite the industry facing a number of challenges including insufficient regulatory and institutional frameworks.
He vowed to rein in the industry when the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bill, 2015, comes up for debate in the House.
“We will bring the amendments but it will be soon, (interrupted by MPs cheering) you can see what it is, Mr Speaker, and I hope Kenyans are seeing. I am sure they will also talk to whoever they talked to, to kill my amendments. I am happy, it has gone the way it has gone because MPs have had their way, but the country knows why and how,” he said.
Members of Parliament who made their contributions during Tuesday’s debate were divided on forming the committee to address the gambling addiction in Kenya; with some saying the industry is destroying the lives of many youths.
The Betting, Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which will be coming up for scrutiny in the Committee of the Whole House next week, seeks to compel betting firms to remit 7.5 percent of their total betting revenue to the government and even specifies the exact date such taxes should be surrendered.
People who win lotto monies will also be expected to remit taxes should the Bill become law. Currently, winners go home with the whole of their winnings.