As mentioned earlier, the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act under CAP 131 was the defining legislation that has shaped gambling in Kenya. Under the Act, all betting in the country was under the control of the government. Even though this Act never mentioned online betting explicitly, it was assumed that online betting was legal. Actually, the government went ahead and opened a state-run betting site, the first online bookmaker in the country. This was in 2011, but unfortunately, it never lasted.
The 2019 Online Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Regulations
The Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act under CAP 131 had largely influenced the betting landscape until the coming of The 2019 Online Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Regulations.
This Act aimed at fully regulating the online gambling sector, which was a gray area at the time now that it wasn't explicitly mentioned in the 1966 Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act. This Act articulates several crucial aspects of online gambling, such as the procedure for registration and deregistration, participation channels, e.g. websites and apps, list of betting options, location, and details of the operator's servers payment methods, and so on.
The 2019 Online Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Regulations also touches on several aspects related to offshore betting sites.
The Proposed New Gambling Act of 2020
This Act, proposed in 2019, seeks to protect young bettors in a country where even the underage are engaging in betting. Besides protecting the vulnerable, this Act wants to review gambling taxes. The law proposes a 35% tax on all gambling adverts while maintaining the existing 20% tax on jackpots. There are also proposals to increase license fees of betting sites to Kshs100 million.
Additionally, the Proposed New Gambling Act of 2020 proposes replacing the BCLB with a new outfit to be dubbed the National Gaming Authority of Kenya. It also seeks to introduce a Gaming Appeals Tribunal to settle gambling-related cases.