Kenyans Betting With Less Than Ksh100 Face 6 Year Jail Term

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    File image of a punter analysing odds
  • Bettors are set to pay a fine of Ksh 5 million or face a 6-year jail term when they bet with amounts below Ksh 100

    This measure was stipulated in a new betting proposal which will become law if enacted in Parliament. 

    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i pushed for the recommendation to be adopted as he seeks to curb the betting craze among Kenyan youth - mostly the unemployed. 

    The CS shifted his attention to the gamblers after imposing restrictions on betting firms, with some being forced to close shop in Kenya. 

    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i addressing the press after a meeting with Governors on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i addressing the press after a meeting with Governors on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

    In what appears to be a new strategy targeting gamers rather than the betting firms, the bill does not impose any restriction on betting firms that have minimum betting stakes as low as Ksh 5. 

    In 2019, MPs proposed Ksh 50 as the minimum betting stake. However, Matiang'i appealed the proposed amount and convinced them to adopt Ksh 100. 

    “Amend by deleting the word ‘fifty’ and substitute thereof with the words ‘one hundred’ to promote responsible gaming and to prevent addictive gaming,” the committee says in its report on the Gaming Bill 2019.

    Matiang'i is seeking to impose more stringent measures after a survey by Geopoll indicated that 76% of Kenyan youth participate in betting, spending an average of Ksh 5,000 per month — the highest in Africa.

    In July 2020, the CS warned that he would ensure Parliament readopts 20% excise duty imposed on betting firms in November 2019 after MPs shortchanged President Uhuru Kenyatta into ejecting it

    The lawmakers removed the regulation from the Finance Bill 2020 which was assented by the head of state.

    "All of you need to understand that this is something we made a decision on and our President has publicly expressed his thoughts on it and also lead from the frontline. We are not going back on our decision. 

    "We cannot allow criminals and money launderers from abroad to mess with our country. Betting has destroyed families and our children," Matiang'i lamented. 

    From left: President Uhuru Kenyatta, ICT CS Joe Mucheru and Interior CS Fred Matiang'i engage during an ICT event in Nairobi on February 7, 2019