Nairobi targets jackpot in new casino, gaming fees


City Casino in Nairobi on August 24, 2020. Casino owners to pay higher licence fees. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The cost of operating gaming and betting services in Nairobi is set to rise further after a new law came into effect, handing City Hall the leeway to charge higher fees.

The new levies, contained in the Nairobi City County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, 2021 will see casino operators dig deeper into their pockets to operate their gaming premises.

Under the new law which came into effect on May 6 after approval by the Nairobi County Assembly, public lotteries will pay up to Sh7 million, betting premises up to Sh1 million while casinos will pay up to Sh2.2 million for various licences.

The new law also introduces several charges as part of measures by the county government to get a piece of the pie from the Kenyan gambling industry which has rapidly become a multibillion-shilling business.

Betting, lotteries, and gaming draw permit will be charged at Sh5,000 per draw; entertainment tax of 10 percent will be charged on winning revenue for the same.

For bingo games, Sh30,000 will be charged per bingo for three-month permit while the county will levy 15 percent of proceeds from the lottery to go to the County Lottery Distribution Trust Fund within 14 days after such draw for distribution to “good causes.”

According to the new law, a grant fee of Sh600,000 will be charged for a betting premise as well as an application fee of Sh10,000. Investors will pay the same at renewal.

The owners will then have to pay the Sh30,000 annual fee per premise as well as Sh10,000 as transfer (location fee) per premise. For gaming (casino) premises, a grant fee of Sh100,000 will be charged with another Sh10,000 payable as an application or renewal fee. An annual fee of Sh300,000 will be applied as well as Sh200,000 as a transfer fee.

For the totalisator premises licence, a grant fee of Sh200,000 will be charged as well as Sh100,000 as an annual fee and transfer fee with Sh10,000 payable as an application or renewal fee.

A totalisator means a machine or a scheme for enabling any number of persons to make bets on any event.

For a public lottery licence, the grant fee will be charged at Sh4 million per lottery with another Sh1 million as an application or renewal fee.

Another Sh500,000 will be required as an annual permit fee and Sh25,000 as a transfer application fee. An investigation fee of Sh500,000 will apply for a local applicant while a foreign applicant will have to fork out Sh1 million.