Kenya has proposed a new Gambling Control Bill 2023 that aims to establish a Gambling Regulatory Authority to replace the existing Betting, Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The bill is currently before parliament and has been sponsored by National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah.
The new Authority will be responsible for both licensing and regulation of betting, casinos, and other forms of gambling, as well as the authorization of prize competitions, public lotteries, and media promotions. The bill also aims to crack down on unlicensed and underage gambling by imposing stricter measures and fines and prohibiting the registration of children for any gambling activity.
In addition to enhancing regulations, the bill also includes provisions related to taxation and deposits. It requires all licensed operators to have at least 30% shares held by Kenyan citizens and facilitate transactions via a Kenyan-registered bank. It also mandates entities to deposit a bank guarantee or insurance security bond to cover any unlicensed gambling activity. The bill imposes a 15% tax on gross gambling revenue and a monthly gambling levy determined by local counties.
Furthermore, the bill sets minimum deposit requirements for casinos, online sports betting, and lotteries, with proceeds from licensed lotteries intended for charitable purposes. The new Gambling Authority will oversee the licensing of all lotteries aimed at raising funds for charitable causes, with at least 30% of the proceeds devoted to the promoted charitable cause.
The bill also addresses the issue of gambling advertisements, proposing a ban on radio and TV stations from airing gambling advertisements between 6 am and 10 pm.
The proposed Gambling Control Bill comes as part of Kenya’s efforts to reform its gambling industry and enhance regulatory oversight. It follows previous statements regarding the non-compliance of operators with licensing requirements and aims to address concerns related to underage gambling and advertising. The bill aligns with Kenya’s finance bill, which was signed into law in 2022 and imposed a 7.5% tax on betting stakes, reflecting the government’s efforts to regulate the gambling sector.