By Edna Mwende
Bets below Ksh50 will be illegal if the proposed Gaming Bill currently being debated in parliament is enacted into law.
According to a news report by Business Daily, the proposed law seeks to establish a real-time monitoring system accessible to the telecommunications sector regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya, to facilitate remote tracking of gaming transactions.
“Those who engage in an online gaming activity for an amount than that prescribed under subsection (1) commit an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than Kh5m or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years,” Business Daily quotes part of the bill.
Currently, gamblers wager less than Ksh5 on sites like BetPawa, Elite Bet and BetYetu which has fueled the fast growth of online gambling among the young who are in need of the prize money.
The local daily also reported that giant gaming firms like SportPesa, Betin and Betway that have operations beyond Kenya have however restricted their minimum stake to Ksh50.
Gaming in Kenya mainly takes place through mobile phones and services like M-Pesa which allow users to place bets, pay off losses and get winnings on their phone without the need of a bank account.
Geopoll, which provides research services according to the Business Daily news report shows that 76 percent of Kenyan youth are engaged in betting with a majority who are jobless spending an average of Ksh5,000 on betting every month.
The news report similarly points out that, the gaming industry in Kenya has grown considerably over the last five years to Sh200 billion from Sh2 billion, employing 5,000 people in the process and that industry executives say about seven million out of 45 million Kenyans have registered for betting services.