Following the promises he made during his 2022 campaign, president William Ruto introduced Kenya’s Financial Inclusion Fund also known as Hustler Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide Kenyans with instant loans upon request, which will ultimately ensure more cost-effective access to credit. This will help Kenya to combat the increasing issues with credit scores among poorer Kenyans who cannot access cash.
The latest bill that was introduced by Ruto’s administration predicts a portion of the money generated through gambling every year to go to the Hustler Fund. With a part of the billions Kenyans stake every year, the Hustler Fund can help the country introduce a better savings system among locals.
According to the new rules that were introduced by the Presidential Task Force for the launch of the National Lottery, there will also be a mandatory stake minimum of Sh20 (~$0.15) punters will be required to make during online gambling sessions.
New Law to Introduce Significant Changes to Online Gambling and Betting Sector in Kenya
The new Gambling Control Bill introduced a mandatory deduction of a portion of every punter’s stakes online, which will then go to the Hustler Fund. The amount, which will be taken from every wager will be determined by the newly established Gambling Regulatory Authority in Kenya. The new regulator will also work closely with the Interior Cabinet Secretary to determine the mandatory portion deducted from gamblers’ wagers.
The new Bill, which is yet to be approved as a law, focuses on the millions of punters in Kenya who gamble every year. Through this new law, the Ruto administration is looking for a new way to bring more money into the Hustler Fund, which has generated over Sh1 billion (~$7,500) up until now.
If the Gaming Control Bill passes as a law, it will replace the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, which currently regulates the gambling sector in Kenya. If the bill is approved and the rule for the mandatory deduction of a portion of gambling stakes is enforced, this will further add to the taxes imposed on the gambling sector in Kenya. Currently, there is a tax of 7.5% on bets, while winnings incur a tax of 20%.
Under the newly proposed bill, the betting tax is expected to be 15% of the revenue of gambling and betting entities operating in Kenya. In addition, these companies will have to pay a monthly gambling fee of no more than 1% of their gross gambling revenue per month. The said levy is paid directly to the Gambling Regulatory Authority.
As for the penalties under the new law, operators may face a fine of up to Sh5 million (~$38,000) or imprisonment of up to six years if they violate the rule of accepting bets of at least Sh20 (~$0.15). Operators will also be required to impose measures that would prevent underage individuals from registering with betting and gambling companies.
Under the new law, operators will also have to implement a gambling control system into their operations, with online security, players/bettors protection, payment solutions, preventing underage gambling, and spreading awareness of gambling harm being just a few of the key points Kenyan operators must focus on.
As for the Gambling Regulatory Authority, under the new law, it is required to provide real-time monitoring of the gambling sector and make the same technology available to the Communication Authority (CA) and any other government agency involved in the regulation of the gambling industry.
Starting next Monday, the public will be able to participate in the discussions of the proposed piece of legislation, including the introduction of a National Gambling Policy and a draft version of a National Lottery Bill.