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Sh500 proposed as minimum betting stake

Gamers placing their bets at a betting shop

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 29 – Want to keep betting? Well soon, the minimum you will require to place a bet on your favorite sport will be Sh500 if proposals before a parliamentary committee to make changes on the Gaming Bill 2019 are adopted.

The National Assembly Tourism and Sports Committee has been conducting public hearings to collect views from Kenyans on the Bill which is currently before the House in the first reading stage.

According to the Committee Chair Victor Munyaka (Machakos), majority of Kenyans who submitted their views to the committee on the Bill want the stake raised so as to facilitate responsible gambling which has over the years degenerated into a crowded affair that has lured in minors including school going children.

“We have been receiving views from Kenyans and there has been a general mood that the minimum stake while placing online bets should be increased,” he said on Thursday during a meeting with top officials from the Betting Licensing and Control Board (BLCB) and the Communication Authority of Kenya.

Director BLCB Peter Mbugi supported calls to have the amount increased on grounds that the exercise had negatively impacted on the social fabric of the society.

“The impact of betting is the country to the social public is big. We are proposing that the amount placed while gambling should be increased so that it can be made difficult for people to participate in the exercise especially school going children,” he said.

Currently, some online betting sites allow as little as Sh20 for gamblers to place their bets.

During the meeting it also emerged that the media gaming industry is set to face hurdles with the betting regulator keen to monitor the advertisements that promote gambling.

In their proposals, Mbugi wants media outlets closely monitored especially when listeners or viewers are asked simple questions then in return get to be awarded with money that is not commensurate with what they collect.

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He noted that findings of the research they had conducted revealed that majority of the winners announced in radio and those are on Television as winners had not actually won anything.

“Some radio stations for instance ask who is the Governor of Nairobi yet everybody very well knows who the person is. In this particular instance we do believe that this has really promoted gambling in the country,” he said.

He said that a gaming advertisement tax chargeable at the rate of 35 per cent for every gaming advertisement should be done through radio or television broadcasting.

In its current form, the Bill requires all gaming advertisement to indicate addictive nature of gambling, notify players to play responsibly, prohibit a child from playing and not feature a former winner with a view to encouraging the general public to bet, play or participate.

Media companies are also prohibited from holding licenses on gaming from using any of their broadcast frequencies to advertise or promote their gaming products or activities.

According to the Bill, once passed into law, those found to be contravening the requirement on advertisement risk a fine not exceeding Sh20mn or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both upon conviction.

On Friday, officials from the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) are expected to submit their views on the Bill.

The Bill is expected to be tabled on the floor of the House once the MPs who are currently on recess resume on the September 9, 2019.

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