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Blow for betting firms as Parliament Committee rejects amendments

Sports Principal Secretary Ambasador Peter Kaberia and SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri address the press at the Sports Ministry Headquarters on April 23, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31 – The National Assembly Committee has rejected all the proposed amendments to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, including the review of the 35 percent taxation to 15 percent.

The Committee has in turn proposed that different gaming activities need to be considered for different tax regimes, terming the urgent push for review of the law as suspicious given that the 2018 FIFA World Cup is only two weeks away.

The Committee has unanimously agreed to overhaul the whole act and create a new one.

“Key among this is the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Law, which is archaic and does not resonate with the realities of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming in the modern world. Right from the onset, I wish to inform that the Committee is alive to the concerns that have been raised by the players in this industry,” the Committee said.

“Having met various stakeholders among them the Association of Gaming Operators in Kenya (AGOK), Kenya Charity Sweepstake and the Betting Control and Licensing Board yesterday, it is the considered opinion of the committee that the proposed amendments do not adequately address the current issues that are affecting this sector, they are piecemeal in nature and if we only allow a few amendments to be enacted , we shall leave the existing Act vague hence causing conflict and disharmony among the players in the industry,” the committee added.

The committee stated that the proposed amendments do not address the fact that technology has advanced and modern gaming and gambling are largely anchored on online platforms.

Also missing in the proposed amendments is that there is no law or legal framework under which the online gambling can be adequately be checked and regulated, noting that there is no capacity within the relevant government agencies can monitor, track and regulate any online gambling activity hence making it difficult to generate revenue for government.

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