A bill tabled in the General Assembly aims to ban betting on mobile phones in the country. The bill indicates that anyone who uses a mobile phone to place a bet (in any manner) on an online gaming platform will be penalized with a fine of Ksh2 million or face two years in jail.
If the mobile number used to place a bet is registered to a service provider, the recommended fine shoots to Ksh50 million.
According to a report from Kenya, the bill seeks to have the winnings from any bets placed paid to the gambler via their bank accounts rather than the current mobile money platforms.
If the proposed bill becomes a law, the Communications Authority (CA) will be granted autonomy to monitor and track gaming transactions.
According to the bill in part that seeks to repeal the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966, it reads, “An individual may not use a telecommunication platform for purposes of playing online games which include casino games, lottery and betting or any platform for online gaming.”
The bill also seeks to have the betting companies provide details on how users/players register or may be de-registered, as well as the charges levied on the gamers.
Also, it makes it illegal for betting companies to have their servers for online betting in foreign countries.
CA shall ensure that no foreign companies offering online gaming services shall have access to offer services and recruit to players based in Kenya.
“The National Gaming Authority (which shall be formed under the new law) and the CA shall constantly monitor all online gaming activities to meet the prescribed conditions and any operator found to be contravening the provisions of this section shall be blocked immediately and be prosecuted accordingly,” other part of the bill reads.
If the proposal becomes effective, it will deal a major blow to betting firms and gamblers as gaming in Kenya usually takes place online specifically on mobile phones.