Gamblers in Nairobi face huge fines, fees

A public lottery licence will cost Sh4 million and Sh1 million as application or renewal fee. [Courtesy]

City Hall has proposed a raft of new tax measures and rules aimed at regulating the multi-billion-shilling gaming and betting industry in the city.

The measures are contained in the Nairobi City County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Bill 2020. They push for the introduction of a betting Act that will establish regulations for the licensing of betting, gaming and totalisator premises.

Players in the lucrative industry will also have to contend with new taxes such as an entertainment tax on all betting, lotteries and gaming licensed chargeable at a rate of 20 per cent on the gross winnings of all betting, lotteries and gaming.

The Bill also proposes penalties and fines of up to Sh1 million. Culture and Community Services Committee Chairperson Mwangi Njahia said the Bill will cure the loss of revenue in the gaming sector.

“The increase in the size of the county population necessitated the drafting of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Bill, 2020,” said Njihia.

The Bill, now at the second reading stage calls for the introduction of a County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Control Board.

The governor will have powers to appoint a non-executive chairperson, assisted by a director in charge of betting, lotteries and gaming. “The director will have powers to approve or reject an application for licences, issue licences, suspend or cancel the same,” states the Bill.

According to the proposed law, betting, lotteries and gaming draw permits will be charged Sh5,000 per draw. An entertainment tax of 10 per cent will be charged on winning revenue for the same.

Casinos will be charged a grant fee of Sh100,000 and another Sh10, 000 as application or renewal fee. They will also fork out Sh300,000 as an annual fee and Sh200,000 as a transfer fee.

A fee of Sh600,000 will also be charged for a betting premise as well as application and renewal fee of Sh10,000.

Owners will also pay an additional Sh30,000 annual fee per premise as well as Sh10, 000 as transfer fee per premise.

A totalisator premises licence, will attract a grant fee of Sh200,000 will be charged and a Sh100,000 annual and transfer fee not forgetting Sh10,000 payable as an application or renewal fee.

The issuance of a public lottery licence will cost Sh4 million per lottery and Sh1 million as an application or renewal fee.

Another Sh500,000 will be required as annual permit fee and Sh25,000 as transfer application fee.  

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