According to sources, the 2023 Gambling Regulation Bill (pdf) expects the Board’s current powers to be incorporated into a new authority to manage gambling licensing and regulatory issues in Kenya’s jurisdiction. “The bill seeks to regulate other forms of gambling, including betting, casinos and prize contests, public draw and media promotion,” the bill reportedly states. The bill, designed to improve the country’s overall gambling environment, is sponsored by Kimani Yi Chungwa, the majority leader of the National Assembly, according to sources.
This means supporting the 2023 Gambling Regulation Bill as a measure to ensure key state authorities comply with licensing requirements. This expectation contrasts with previous 2022 statements in which the majority of gambling operators repeatedly reported failure to comply with these requirements. For this reason, the new legislation introduces a wide range of measures to ensure legal compliance for the country’s gambling stakeholders. This reportedly includes raising gambling taxes, fines for violating license terms, and prohibition of child registration for gambling behavior.
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The bill also stipulates a minimum betting deposit of KES20 ($0.13) for violations of KES20 minimum equity requirements and a statutory fine of KES5 million (approximately $33,000) for violations of KES20 minimum equity requirements. In addition, the bill would ban radio and TV stations from offering gambling ads between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., sources reported. The 2023 Gambling Regulation Bill also requires Kenyan citizens to hold at least a 30% stake in a company licensed to operate gambling in the country. Businesses must also ensure that all gambling-related transactions are carried out through banks registered in Kenya.
As a guarantee of a commitment to lawful operation, all gambling operators are required to deposit a bank guarantee or insurance bond if they do not comply with the terms and conditions. Casino operators are reportedly required to deposit 20 million KES (about $131,500) and 200 million KES (about $1.3 million), respectively, for online sports betting and lottery tickets.
15% tax introduction
According to reports, the new gambling authority will also manage the permission of all lottery tickets as at least 30% of these profits are allocated for charitable purposes. Authorities will ensure compliance of all gambling stakeholders in their jurisdiction and impose fines and penalties for violations. Sources say unlicensed lottery promotions could result in a KES1 million (about $6,500) fine or a year in prison. Finally, the 2023 Gambling Regulation Bill would introduce a 15% tax on gross gambling returns to replace a 7.5% tax on betting stakes currently in effect. In this way, the new legislation will break the Gordian knot and resolve the long-standing controversy surrounding the Kenyan gambling tax system.