The betting industry is about to lose its footing if an outrageous section of the Gaming Bill becomes law. Taxman is all armed ready to dig deep into the betting industry coffers for revenue, in the name of revenue and curbing the addiction of betting, a move which could hurt the economy so badly by targeting online gaming.
Gaming Bill, which is currently in Parliament, criminalises the use of a mobile phone as a betting avenue for an online gaming platform. Failure to which one will be fined up to Ksh2 million or a maximum jail term of two years in the proposed law. Things getting a little thick or betting companies who dare to use the mobile for betting as they will be charged a whooping Ksh 50 million.
Telecom platforms like M-Pesa that permit users to place bets, pay off losses and get winnings on their phone without needing a bank account, will give in to the restriction and suffer from revenue loss.
“A person in Kenya may not use a telecommunication platform for purposes of playing online games which include betting, lottery, casino games or any platform for other forms of online gaming.
“The board (National Gaming Authority) and the Communications Authority of Kenya shall continually monitor all online gaming activities to meet the prescribed conditions and any operator found to be in contravention with the provisions of this section, shall be blocked immediately and prosecuted accordingly,” reads part of the Bill that seeks to withdraw the obsolete Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) a regulator of the sector will be at the centre of establishing a real-time monitoring system to facilitate remote tracking of gaming transactions as online gaming firms will be required to provide a website platform as well as all visual and audio communication channels as per the proposed law.
Use of servers hosted in foreign countries for online gaming will be withdrawn in the proposed law.
“The Communications Authority of Kenya shall ensure that no foreign operators offering online gaming services shall have access to recruit and offer services to players domiciled in Kenya.
Our economy will be looking an average of Sh5, 000 loss on betting per month from each unemployed youth addicted to betting, and over 5000 Kenyans will be thrown back into the cold streets due to unemployment.