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Kenyan Government Proposes Strict New Gambling Control Bill

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A Gambling Control Bill has been introduced into the Kenyan parliament with a range of strict new rules for gaming operators in the jurisdiction. It will replace the existing Betting, Lotteries, and Gambling Act.

This new legislation has been introduced into parliament by Kimani Ichung’wah, the National Assembly Majority Leader. Some of the headline rules are heavy penalties for unlicensed operators, the creation of a new gaming regulation authority, and a restriction of gambling-related advertising.

To make sure children are not exposed to gambling advertising, gaming operators will be banned from showing gambling advertisements on all media platforms between 6 am and 10 pm during the day.

The new legislation will prohibit the registration of children for online gambling purposes, Including lotteries, live casinos, or other betting activities.

New Strict Licensing Conditions for Gaming Operators

All gambling operators in the Kenyan jurisdiction must be registered and any operators that do not have a license from the regulatory body will face hefty fines. Any unlicensed gambling operators will face a Sh3 million fine or three years in jail, with persistent offenses liable for a combination of a Sh5 million fine or five years in jail.

The new legislation includes a new tax on gaming companies in the country, which is set at 15% of the operator's gross gambling revenue, in addition to a monthly levy set by the new gaming regulators.

There will be a deposit scheme where gaming operators will purchase an insurance bond with the government to cover any liabilities. The proposed fees are likely to be a deposit of Sh20 million for retail casinos and Sh200 million for online gambling operators.

Gaming companies will also be required to produce audited financial statements and reports directly to the regulators within three months of the end of the financial year.

The Bill seeks to regulate betting, casinos and other forms of gambling, including the authorization of prize competitions, public lotteries and media promotions. A licensee shall not allow any person to participate as a player in an authorized game conducted by the licensee unless the person is registered as a player and holds an account with the licensee.

StatementGambling Control Bill 2023

Creation of a New Gambling Regulatory Authority

Part of the proposed new gambling legislation includes the creation of a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), which will oversee the sweeping new changes. This new GRA is to replace the current Betting, Control and Licensing Board.

The new GRA will be a powerful government agency with a chairman, a director general, and a committee of up to twelve members. It will have control over all gaming activities in the country, including issuing licenses, setting betting standards, lotteries, and casino operations.

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