Kenya’s New Law: Compulsory Savings with Every Bet Placed

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Kenya is set to enforce a new law that will require gamblers to save with every bet placed. The new Bill, proposed by the Presidential Taskforce on the establishment of a National Lottery, aims to develop a savings culture among Kenyans, particularly in the informal sector. Punters will be required to stake a minimum of Sh20 through online gambling, and part of the amount staked will be carved out for savings, determined by the Gambling Regulatory Authority in consultation with the Interior Cabinet Secretary.

The Hustler Fund-style savings kitty, promoted by President William Ruto’s administration, has already collected over Sh1 billion, making it a successful tool in enforcing savings. The new Bill, which targets the millions of Kenyans who bet every year, will replace the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act.

Operators who contravene the law by allowing a person to engage in online gambling activity for less than the prescribed Sh20 risk penalties of up to Sh5 million or an imprisonment term of up to six years. The operators shall also be tasked with registering participants in online gambling and putting in place measures to ensure that minors are not registered, including requesting proof of age.

The proposed law describes online gambling as any form of communication undertaken through remote communication and shall see operators licensed as either online bookmakers, online lotteries or online casinos. Operators are expected to pay out prize money within two days and within seven days for non-monetary prizes.

The proposal to repeal the 1966 Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act is part of the presidential taskforce’s mandate to reform the sector. The task force is mandated to propose reforms that seek to regulate the betting and gaming sector, transforming the sector into a force for social progress, anchored on the necessary safeguards that assure a responsible gambling environment.

The proposed National Lottery is expected to shore up funding for sports, culture and arts and boost current funding provided through the Sports Arts and Social Development Fund. The proposed legislative framework, including a National Gambling Policy and a draft National Lottery Bill, will be open to public participation beginning next Monday.

Read: Kenya Set to Replace Betting Control Board with Stronger Gambling Authority

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