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Is Online Betting Legal in Kenya?
Many Kenyans engage in betting activities, and with the internet, computer devices, and mobile phones, their quest to staking and winning has been made more fluid. Betting involves gambling with money by wagering on a game, intending to win a cash prize based on the odds provided. However, it is essential to understand betting and its legality in Kenya. In this article, we will tell you about the betting industry, the regulatory framework, and some of the licenses applicable in the industry. BettingGuide has researched the Kenyan market, and it is highly recommended that you visit their website to learn more.
Betting is legal in Kenya and is currently regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The BCLB is a department under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of the National Government. This entity was created by the Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act Cap 131 Laws of Kenya.
The history of betting laws in Kenya
Kenya’s history of gambling regulation dates back to 1966, when the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act was passed to regulate betting activities, which are not as widespread and popular as they are today. As technology advanced, people started betting using the internet, and online betting sought to expand to Kenya. Many online betting operators were established, with the popular Sport Pesa beginning operations in 2013 and Elite Bet starting in 2014. Subsequently, other operators were found, both from international and local markets. With the betting market flooded with online betting operators, the Kenyan government sought to introduce a new gambling bill in 2019, which was later passed into law in 2020.
Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB)
This is the body mandated to regulate and control betting in the country. The BCLB is dedicated to ensuring that it replicates world-class regulatory approaches to gamblers. Its responsibilities include:
- Supervising and Inspecting Betting and Gaming Activities
- Presiding over Public Lottery and Prize Competition draws
- Conducting spot checks on betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Operations Countrywide
- Authorizing amusement machines and pool tables
Legalizing betting activities means that the BCLB formulates initiatives to eradicate illegal gambling, gaming, lotteries, and betting are regulated, Kenyans are protected against fraudulent entities, and people bet responsibly.
The Data Protection Act of 2019
The latest bill considered operators offering betting services on various aspects, such as lotteries and sporting events. Much personal data is circulating online as people register their accounts with multiple operators. Therefore, it was inherent for the Kenyan government to introduce the Data Protection Act of 2019 to ensure that every Kenyan engaging with online platforms has its data protected. This regulation also called for betting operators to refrain from using bettors’ data for other than the stipulated purposes.
Kenya’s current state of gambling
The 2019 Online Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Regulations outline and describe the present laws governing betting activities in the country. The regulation prompted betting operators to consider various procedures to be allowed to penetrate the online gambling sector. The requirements include the following:
- Providing the regulatory body with the specifics of the gambling platforms, including the mobile platforms and websites.
- Providing the regulatory body with a concise procedure for registering and terminating bettors’ accounts.
- Providing the regulatory body with the games that Kenyans can bet on, to determine whether they are in line with the law.
- Providing the regulatory authority with server details such as location and descriptions.
International betting providers are also subject to strict regulatory policies, including:
- Monitoring and addressing bettor concerns.
- Notifying the regulatory body of any potential changes to betting services.
- There should be accurate information concerning betting activities by Kenyan players.
BCLB seeks to enhance betting activities and cultivate responsible gambling. The following aspects are fundamental for all Kenyan-based bettors to understand:
- Kenyans should expect stricter regulations in the betting industry. The forthcoming gambling bill posits that all operators should obtain working licenses from the government. Initially, any person or group could set up a betting entity without formal regulations; however, there is strict oversight by the government to guarantee lawful gambling procedures. The Betting Control and Licensing Board is the current regulator overseeing licensing. This board also has the power to revoke licenses and impose fines when malpractices are reported or identified.
- There are also increased taxation measures on gambling operators. Initially, there was no taxation on gambling operators; however, betting companies incur taxes that they pay to the government. Most of the time, these taxes are reflected in the players’ winnings as some money is deducted to finance the taxes paid to the government.
Types of gambling licenses provided in Kenya
In Kenya, betting services are permissible only if the operator has followed the proper procedure and obtained a license, which may include;
- Sports betting
Sports betting is the most popular gambling form in the country, and there are multiple operators with licenses to offer sports betting on sports such as football, rugby, golf, basketball, golf, and boxing.
The lottery is another platform licensed by the BCLB where people buy lottery tickets and play popular lottery games.
- Casino gaming
Casino gaming is a popular betting option for Kenyans, where they engage with online operators to play various casino games, such as table games and slot games.