Gamblers who stake less than Sh100 in sports gambling sites will attract a Sh5 million fine if Parliament passes a Bill aimed at cutting betting among the youth. Pundits will also risk a jail term of up to six years in the new law that seeks to keep gaming out of the reach of the youth and the un-employed.
The Bill which is supposed to tame ‘irresponsible betting’ initially proposed a minimum betting stake of Sh50 but the Interior Ministry successfully appealed for doubling of the minimum stake in a bid
The National Assembly’s Sports, Culture and Tourism committee then agreed to the new alteration which is now in the hands of lawmakers who will make it expensive to bet if they approve it into law.
On sites such as BetPawa, Betika, Elite Bet, BetYetu, the youth can stake a minimum of upto Sh5 which the lawmakers figure is fuelling the rapid growth of online gambling among the young and vulnerable seeking millions in prize money while unemployed.
“Amend by deleting the word ‘fifty’ and substitute thereof with the words ‘one hundred’ to promote responsible gaming and to prevent addictive gamin,” the committee says in its report of the Gaming Bill, 2019.
This comes as SportPesa which has been heavily frustrated by the government finally came back online, The giant firm which had exited the Kenyan market last year had set the minimum betting stake at Sh50 but scores of other firms made it possible to bet with less than Sh50, which has in turn lured millions of youth to their websites.
The big winners will be Telco Safaricom which will enjoy increased transfer fees for punters depositing cash into the accounts through M-Pesa.
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