Kenya officials to debate introducing new gambling authority

Kenyan legislators have confirmed that they are currently considering new policies which would overhaul current state gambling laws, with plans to impose significantly higher costs on licensed operators.

The proposed Gaming Bill 2019, designed to replace the 1966 Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act, seeks to cover the online operators across the Kenyan market that may not have otherwise been represented by the legislation.

As part of the proposals, the current regulatory authority – the Betting and Licensing Control Board – would be replaced by the National Gaming Authority, while a Gaming Appeals Tribunal would also be developed to address matters relating to gambling disputes.

Kenya’s gambling tax rate is not set to be impacted by the new proposals, however, following a turbulent 2018 where taxes were raised and then subsequently dropped. Minimum bet limits have also been proposed by officials, suggesting a minimum bet amount of KES50 (£0.39), which roughly equates to half of the minimum sum proposed by SportPesa.

Also covered by the new proposals are stricter controls on advertising policies for operators, with gambling brands obliged to dedicate at least ten per cent of their airtime to responsible gaming messaging. Gambling adverts will be banned from broadcast schedules between 6AM and 10PM, unless during live sports broadcasts.

A limit to how many adverts can be shown is also due to be introduced via the launch of the Gaming Advertisement Tax. The new tax will incur a 35 per cent charge on all adverts broadcast, although it is yet to be clarified as to whether this tax will be handed to operators or broadcasters.

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