Betting firms in Kenya have warned the local government that proposed law to regulate gambling in the country will do more harm than good to the industry. They believe that the law proposed by MP Jakoyo Midiwo will cause stagnation in the growing business of gambling and will prevent Kenya from benefiting of any potential tax revenues.
The Association of Gaming Operators of Kenya (AGOK) called the bill misguided and asked to defer it until further consultations are conducted and a compromise of two sides is reached.
“The Bill requires significant amendments. It would not be the same Bill as it was at the first reading,” said AGOK chairman Ronald Karauri. “There appears to be a concerted targeting of the industry through measures that are designed to cripple the industry,” he added.
The bill proposes to double the betting tax (from 7.5% to 15%), to increase the lottery tax from 5% to 20% and the gaming tax from 12% to 20%. Karauri believes that such changes are breaching the Constitution and will create unsustainable business conditions.
Further, AGOK chairman questions Midiwo’s research on problem gambling and states that “it has never been scientifically proven that betting is addictive”.
“It is my personal belief that if there was a problem with betting, it would not grow,” commented Karauri.
A National Assembly committee is willing to negotiate and seek for a solution that is more acceptable for betting firms, but the bill can no longer be deferred.
“There is some urgency in the matter,” commented David Were, the committee chairman.