Sports Committee chair Makau vows to push implementation of gaming bill
Newly appointed Sports Committee chairman in the National Assembly Patrick Makau has vowed to fast-track the implementation of the gaming Bill, which he says if passed, will seal numerous loopholes in the multi-billion shillings industry.
The Mavoko legislator, who replaced his Machakos Town counterpart Victor Munyaka last week, says the proposed Gaming Bill 2019 drafted by his predecessor will also pump the brakes on the phenomenon, which he says has led to “untamed gambling.”
Speaking to Musyi’s FM sports magazine show ‘’Syukile Na Mathau’’ Saturday, Makau said the bill, which is in its third reading in Parliament, is seeking to establish a real-time monitoring system of gambling operators to ensure proper payment of revenue to the government in the form of taxes.
“The field is operated unchecked and can be disastrous especially to our youth and the economy. If passed, it will also allow more effective means of monitoring individual gamblers’ activity for signs of potential problem gambling behavior,” he said.
According to Makau, the Bill is designed to replace the 1966 Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, and would revamp the country’s regulatory framework for gambling.
“Due to the existing loopholes betting firms in the country have been insincere when reporting their revenues and that will come to an end if the Bill sails through and becomes operational.
“During this era of the internet, the existing laws don’t address the modern-day challenges facing the betting and gaming industry and my young men and women are committing suicide for losing bets and we don’t want as a House to be blamed,” he added.
Among the proposed bill’s 170 clauses is a requirement for Kenyan-licensed betting firms to post a Sh.100million when entering the country’s market as a three-year licence, followed by a Sh.30million renewal fee to be paid annually.
Also, the legislator wants to push for the amendment of the Public Finance Management (Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund) Regulations so that the 60 percent of the Fund’s proceeds go to sports instead of social development and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) while the 35 percent sport’s share be directed to the latter instead.
Makau argues that since Health is a devolved unit it’s taken care of by the counties and that, sports, should get the lion’s share from the Fund.
“I will discuss with the other committee members to see if we can sponsor a Bill to amend the regulations of the fund so that sports can get the big share. By doing that we will be preserving the original aim of the Sports Act, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Makau has vowed to ensure the committee keeps the Sports Ministry on the toes especially on botched stadia projects which have become a prominent highlight of failed campaign promises by the Government in the run-up to the 2017 general elections.
“We will ensure that all stadia projects in the country get enough funds and be completed in the set timelines. We will also ensure that the funds will be spent well because we will not push for allocation of money to projects then we get reports of stalled works,” he warned.
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