Nineteen gambling firms have been denied new operating licenses by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) in a move that could lead to the retrenching of hundreds of workers in the sector.
According to a news report by the Business Daily, BCBL similarly postponed the issuance of renewed licenses to eight other betting firms as well as 13 casinos and six lotteries. This follows an April decree by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i which dictated that all betting firms whose annual licenses are renewed at the end of June undergo fresh vetting to ensure that their operations and management comply to set governmental regulations more so the paying of taxes. According to the Interior CS, the Ksh. 200 billion industry owes the government approximately Ksh. 26 billion in unpaid taxes.
“The board, in collaboration with government agencies, will be conducting sustained vetting of all licensees in the gaming industry and shall not hesitate to debar non-compliant operators in any category. All licensees will undergo a quarterly review to determine their level of compliance, and the cumulative review shall be used in deciding if they qualify for renewal or not upon the expiry of the licence,” BCLB said in an official statement.
Despite not disclosing the identities of the firms BCLB insisted that they had put in place enough measures to regulate gaming and betting platforms to curb the operations of rogue firms.
The vetting process, as reported by the Business Daily, involves establishing whether the applicant is fit enough to hold a license, the suitability of the gaming premises and whether the business has received approval to operate in its area of establishment.
This is done by scouring through the applicants’ financial status and integrity, looking into the qualifications and experience of betting firms’ directors and analyzing the firm’s ability to conduct gambling transactions.
Persons who provide false declarations face a fine of up to Sh500,000 or a maximum jail term of six months or both upon conviction by a court of law.