Economy

Casino in court to block Nairobi’s new gaming law

casino

A casino. African Rafiki wants the court to block the implementation of the Nairobi City County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 2014. Photo/FILE

Summary

  • Judicial Review Division Judge Isaac Lenaola on Monday declined to grant African Rafiki the restraining order, but set July 23 as the hearing date.
  • He further directed the county government to file a response and serve it to the casino before the hearing date.
  • The applicants allege the county has asked them and other members of the Association of Gaming Operators in Kenya to apply for licences and make payments regarding the same.

A city casino has moved to court to challenge the new betting, lotteries and gaming law passed by the Nairobi County Assembly in May to regulate the industry.

African Rafiki wants the court to block the implementation of the Nairobi City County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 2014, arguing the law violates the provisions of the Constitution and exposes them to double charges.

Judicial Review Division Judge Isaac Lenaola on Monday declined to grant African Rafiki the restraining order, but set July 23 as the hearing date.

He further directed the county government to file a response and serve it to the casino before the hearing date.

“No County Assembly or Government has the authority to oust any provision of a national legislation. The county legislation is thus in conflict with the national legislation,” argued African Rafiki general manager John Omondi.

The applicants allege the county has asked them and other members of the Association of Gaming Operators in Kenya to apply for licences and make payments regarding the same.

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According to the casino, players in the industry have paid the licensing fee demanded by the national government through the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

“The county laws put African Rafiki at risk of closing down their business yet it is in possession of a valid licence from the national government,” said Macharia Gakaria, the casino’s lawyer.

He added the property and entertainment rates could not be charged as they carry out business from rented premises and the latter can only be charged to their patrons.

“It will not only amount to double taxation but payment for no service rendered. It is of utmost importance that this matter be heard urgently to stem the blatant breach of law...,” he said.