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Why betting with less than Sh100 will land gamblers in jail

Gamblers who place less than Sh100 stake risk a Sh5 million fine if Parliament adopts the recommendations aimed at discouraging betting among the youth.

National Assembly had in 2015 proposed a minimum betting stake of Sh50 but the Interior Ministry made a successful appeal to double the stake in a bid to curb ‘irresponsible betting’.

The National Assembly’s Sports, Culture and Tourism committee agreed to the submission that will make it expensive for some gamblers.

Right now people are betting with as low as Sh5 on BetPawa, Betika, Elite Bet, BetYetu among others making gambling rampant among the young and vulnerable.

Any stake less than Sh100 will throw gamblers to a jail term of up to six years under the recommendations that aim to lock out  the youth and the jobless.

“Amend by deleting the word ‘fifty’ and substitute thereof with the words ‘one hundred’ to promote responsible gaming and to prevent addictive gamin,”Gaming Bill, 2019 report says.

The recommendations by the sports ministry are contained in a report that is currently before Parliament for debate and adoption.

Giant gambling firms including SportPesa and Betin left the Kenyan market last year after minimum betting stake was set at Sh50 and more taxes introduced.

Telcos like Safaricom will be the biggest beneficiaries if the minimum stake is approved by Parliament since they will enjoy increased transfer fees through M-Pesa.

The move is the latest bid by government to deal with the betting craze with a recent survey by Geopoll showing that 76% of Kenyan youth are actively engaged in betting — the highest in Africa.

The report further shows the majority who are the jobless youths spending an average of Sh5, 000 on betting every month.

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