To compete with giant online betting firms like Sportpesa and Betin, sites such as BetPawa, Betika, Elite Bet, BetYetu, emerged a few years ago giving the youth an option to stake a minimum of up to Sh5. This according to parliament fueled the rapid growth of online gambling among the young and vulnerable seeking millions in prize money while unemployed and needed to be stopped.
Now, gamblers who stake less than Sh100 in sports gambling sites will attract a Sh5 million fine or risk a jail term of up to six years in a new law that is aimed at keeping online gambling out of the reach of the youth and the unemployed and make it a privilege.
The Bill which is supposed to tame ‘irresponsible betting’ initially proposed a minimum betting stake of Sh50 but the Interior Ministry successfully appealed for doubling of the minimum stake.
The National Assembly’s Sports, Culture and Tourism committee then agreed to the new alteration which is now in the hands of MPs who will make it expensive to bet if they approve it into law.
“Amend by deleting the word ‘fifty’ and substitute thereof with the words ‘one hundred’ to promote responsible gaming and to prevent addictive gamin,” the committee says in its report of the Gaming Bill, 2019.
SportPesa which has been heavily frustrated by the government just finally came back online and the giant firm which had exited the Kenyan market last year has to now adjust the minimum betting stake from Sh50 to avoid trouble.
Laughing all the way to the bank is Telco Safaricom which will enjoy increased transfer fees for punters depositing cash into the accounts through M-Pesa.