Panic grips gaming industry as Matiang’i cracks the whip


Interior CS Fred Matiang’i speaking after opening a Capacity Building Workshop for Assistant County ...
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i speaking after opening a Capacity Building Workshop for Assistant County Commissioners (ACCs) from the Eastern Region in the Kenya School of Government in Embu. PHOTO| CITIZEN DIGITAL

In Summary

  • Panic has gripped the betting industry after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i on Monday gave a July 1 ultimatum to all the gaming firms to settle all tax arrears failure to which they'll have their licenses suspended.
  • Speaking in Nairobi after a meeting with the Betting and Licensing Control Board to review relevant policies in the sector, Matiangi also directed the Board to table before him a Status Report in 30 days.

Panic has gripped the betting industry after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Monday gave a July 1 ultimatum to all the gaming firms to settle all tax arrears failure to which they’ll have their licenses suspended.

Speaking in Nairobi after a meeting with the Betting and Licensing Control Board to review relevant policies in the sector, Matiang’i also directed the Board to table before him a Status Report in 30 days.

“We have about 500,000 of our young people who are blacklisted by some of the lending agencies, because they borrowed and cannot pay. Most of them borrowed because of betting. This is a sector we must regulate. I want to be very frank with you, we are prepared to face the consequences that may be to ensure that this sector is regulated effectively,” he charged.

He added: “I have instructed the chair of the board to convene a meeting with the Communications Authority of Kenya and review the advertising regime of some of these bets and the betting environment.

“Some of the offshore agencies that are advertising in the media if they are not properly followed and this is not done, the media houses involved should be called to account.We must create order, we can’t live in this kind of society.

He went on: “I have equally asked the board that within the next thirty days, they give me a status report on betting in the country complete with a notation profiling the agencies involved in this.

Matiang’i, known for his no-nonsense demenaour in getting government projects implemented, also tasked his PS to ensure that everything is above board.

“I have instructed the PS in charge of Immigration and the Director General of Immigration services to be involved to ensure that everyone who is involved in this exercise especially those who are not citizens of this country are properly documented and they have the right papers to be in our country, where they are not the law should take its course immediately and we should call them to account,” he added.

The directive comes barely two months after neighbours Uganda banned sports gambling with the religious community insisting it had robbed the society of its youth.

In Kenya, gambling has gained currency becoming a popular pass-time activity by the youth, with the number of gaming firms and casinos projected to be above 100 as at December last year.

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