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Kenya Gambling Control Bill 2023 Proposing New Reforms

Parliament in Kenya is currently reviewing a proposed Gambling Control Bill that aims to establish a new Gambling Regulatory Authority within the country. Upon approval of the bill, the existing Betting, Control, and Licensing Board (BCLB) will be replaced as the governing body for the Kenyan gambling market. 2023

According to a source, the Gambling Control Bill 2023 (pdf) plans to merge the current mandate of the Board into a new Authority that will oversee gambling licensing and regulation in Kenya.

The bill aims to regulate various forms of gambling, such as betting, casinos, prize competitions, lotteries, and media promotions. The sponsor of this bill, which aims to enhance the gambling industry in the country, is reported to be National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah.

It indicates that the main state authorities are backing the Gambling Control Bill 2023 to enforce licensing obligations. This comes after reports in 2022 revealed that many gambling operators consistently failed to meet these requirements.

To address this issue, the new law introduces various measures to ensure legal compliance among gambling stakeholders in the nation. These measures reportedly involve higher gambling taxes and penalties for breaching license terms and conditions, as well as the banning of minors from registering for gambling activities. Kenya Gambling Control Bill 2023

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The proposed bill will establish a minimum deposit requirement of KES20 ($0.13) for wagering, and failure to comply will result in a fine of KES5 million (around $33,000). Additionally, radio and TV stations will be prohibited from airing gambling advertisements between 6am and 10pm.

The Gambling Control Bill 2023 also mandates that at least 30% of shares in licensed gambling companies must be held by Kenyan citizens. Furthermore, operators must ensure that all gambling transactions are conducted through banks registered in Kenya.

To ensure adherence to license terms and conditions, gambling entities must provide a bank guarantee or insurance bond as proof of their commitment to legal operations. According to reports, casino operators will be obligated to deposit KES20 million (equivalent to approximately $131,500), while online sports betting and lottery operators will need to deposit KES200 million (around $1.3 million) each.

According to the report, the new Gambling Authority will have the responsibility of overseeing the licensing of all lotteries. A minimum of 30% of the revenues generated from these lotteries will be designated for charitable purposes. The authority will ensure that all individuals and organizations involved in gambling adhere to the regulations and guidelines set forth, and those who violate these rules will be subject to fines and penalties. Kenya Gambling Control Bill 2023

The report states that engaging in unlicensed lottery promotions may result in a fine of KES1 million or a one-year jail sentence. Additionally, the Gambling Control Bill 2023 will introduce a 15% tax on gross gambling revenues, replacing the current tax of 7.5% on betting stakes. This new legislation aims to address the longstanding issues surrounding the Kenyan gambling tax system.

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