Parliamentarians want betting firms restricted to charge Sh50 as the minimum a participant can place in a game.
They hope by doing so they will discourage children and families from using the little money they have for gambling.
The Sports committee put the proposal in the Gaming Bill 2019, which is due for debate in the National Assembly when it resumes sittings next month.
Chairman Victor Munyaka said they wished the figure could be higher but the Sh50 will still be sufficient. He said the situation of betting firms and gaming operators accepting as little as Sh10, or in worst cases Sh5, as stakes was alarming.
“Families are spending the little money they should spare for food and other provisions to take part in betting activities,” Munyaka told a local daily.
Firms such as those running SMS and call-ins normally have ranges of stakes from as low as Sh5. Some online gaming platforms charge as low as Sh10, save for a few that have the minimum set at Sh100. If passed, the law will restrict access to foreign gaming servers by Kenyans with a view to minimizing the capital flight from the Kenyan economy.
The Bill is set to repeal the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act which was enacted in 1966 on grounds the
existing law is outdated. MPs have backed the proposal with some seeking that the figure is enhanced to Sh500 to lock out as many people as possible. Rongai MP Raymond Moi said, “This requirement will weed out thousands of youths who want to gamble.” Igembe Central’s Kubai Iringo said raising the minimum bet would help tame unscrupulous business people who exploit that lacuna in the law to propagate gambling.
Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu said apart from the minimum amounts set, licenced premises will, to some extent, control who participates in the games.
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