Network operators and betting firms seem to have gotten really lucky after the government reversed a previously proposed law that would see a ban on mobile payment services for conducting gambling transactions.
The section of the Gaming Bill 2019 that was reversed by the National Assembly’s Sports, Culture and Tourism committee looked to block gamblers and betting companies from paying or receiving cash through M-PESA, Airtel Money or T-Kash.
The bill that is now close to becoming signed into law will seek to repeal the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966.
Telcos and betting firms are obviously the biggest winners from this decision by the committee. This boost is mostly associated with the fact that the lawmakers raised the minimum amount of an online gambling bet to KES 100. This is from the initial KES 50 limit, translating to big business.
Currently, gamblers can stake as little as KES 5 on betting sites. This has for a while been a driving force behind the rapid growth of online betting among the young and vulnerable seeking thousands and millions in prize money. Betting Malaysia is an example of site like this.
The Parliament committee now wants to have Section 60 of the Bill amended in a bid to compel online gamblers not to bet anything less than KES 100 on a competition.
“The amendment seeks to discourage gambling and to deter a licensee from allowing illegal gaming, the committee said in a report.
However, banks are about to be the biggest losers in this new law as it proposes a ban on the use of credit cards to place bets.
“The amendment seeks to remove the use of credit cards to gamble or bet…and seeks to provide for other modes of payments which a player may use, that is mobile money transfer,” the report adds.
This proposal would sound familiar to the British as it mirrors a similar decision made by the UK’s Gambling Commission earlier this year. Either way, it is clear that a lot of regulation needs to be done around the betting industry in Kenya.
Do you agree with any of these prospective regulations?