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Kenyan parliament proposes new gambling regulations

The government of Kenya has moved to initiate further amendments to the method the country’s gambling industry is regulated. Slot machines have become the target of new curb that are yet to be voted by the Kenya’s parliament.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has fixed the proposed amendments onto the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill. A first reading of the legislative piece took place on Wednesday.

If the proposed changes get the required support in the parliament, they will materialize as amendments to the nation’s present gambling law, the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act.

Under Duale’s proposal, county governments will be given the power to decide whether an interested gambling operator should be granted the necessary license to set up businesses in their jurisdiction or not.

Currently, the Betting Control and Licensing Board is the supervisory body tasked with issuing gambling licenses to investors that want to provide their gambling services in the country. Under the proposed changes, the authoritarian body will have to present the respective county government with a copy of an operator’s application for a license. County officials will therefore be able to evaluate the applicant and to reject their application if they spot any indiscretions.

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Assemblyman Duale’s proposal also incorporates an increase in the security deposit a gambling operator must pay upon applying for a license to KES20 million from KES40, 000.

The number of the gaming machines installed across the country has improved radically in recent years.

Under the newly proposed changes, slot machine owners who are not authorized to provide this type of gambling could face fines of between 5,000 and KES2 million and could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. Changes are also planned for the maximum bet a player could place. The amount allowed could be increased from KES1 to KES50, 000 under the recent proposals.

Earlier this year, the Kenyan government announced that it would set up measures to curb the increase of gambling in the nation, mainly among younger members of the country’s population and susceptible people. As a result, lawmakers proposed and approved a rise in the gambling tax rate.

SportPesa, the Kenyan sports betting operator, which just expanded into the UK, criticized the new tax regime greatly and announced that it would withdraw all its football sponsor ships in the state when the 35% rate takes effect in early 2018.

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