Kenya has introduced a Gambling Control Bill to establish a new gambling regulator.
The Gambling Control Bill 2023, currently in Parliament, establishes a new gambling regulator. Once approved, it will replace the current Betting, Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).
Incorporating the Board’s current mandate, the new authority will also be responsible for licensing and regulation.
“The bill aims to regulate betting, casinos and other forms of gambling, including the authorization of competitions, public lotteries and media advertising,” the bill states.
The state-backed gambling control bill is supported by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah.
We take action against unauthorized and underage gambling
The newly introduced gambling control bill aims to significantly expand the committee’s original mandate.
This follows previous statements in 2022 that the majority of Kenyan operators were not complying with licensing requirements.
The wide range of new measures will increase taxes and fines for crimes and ban the registration of children for any gambling activities.
The bill will also ban bets of less than KES 20, with a statutory fine of KES 5 million for any operator offering a bet of less than KES 20.
Radio and television stations should also be banned from broadcasting gambling advertising between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Taxes and deposits
The Gambling Control Act requires all licensed operators to have at least 30% shares owned by Kenyan citizens. All companies must also facilitate transactions through a bank registered in Kenya.
Companies are also required to provide either a bank guarantee or insurance security to cover any unlicensed gambling activity.
In total, casinos must deposit KES 20 million and online sports betting and lotteries must deposit KES 200 million.
The new gaming authority will also be responsible for licensing all lotteries used to raise money for charitable purposes.
At least 30% of the proceeds must also be used for the charitable cause the lottery supports.
Any natural or legal person who promotes an unlicensed lottery will be punished with a fine of KES 1 million or one year in prison.
The Gambling Control Law also imposes a 15% tax on gross gambling revenues as well as a monthly gambling levy to be set by local districts.
The latest bill follows Kenya’s Finance Law, which came into force in 2022, which imposed a 7.5% tax on betting stakes.
The equity tax has long been the subject of controversy in Kenya, with market leaders Sportpesa and Betin previously withdrawing their services from the market.