State to scrap betting board, replace it with an authority


Kenyans staked a record Sh88.5 billion through online bets in the full year to June 2023. FILE PHOTO | POOL

The government is planning to scrap the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) and replace it with a more powerful authority, if proposals by the Presidential Taskforce on the Establishment of a National Lottery are adopted.

A Gambling Regulatory Authority will take over from BCLB in the changes that will also replace the Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966.

The proposal to scrap BCLB is contained in a new legislative framework, including the draft National Gambling Policy, the draft National Gambling Control Bill and the draft National Lottery Bill, which will be published on Monday ahead of public participation sessions next month.

According to the presidential task force, the new legislation will offer greater protection of minors and provisions to tame online gambling.

“The sector has for decades been frowned upon as a space that encourages certain immoralities and is tainted with ethical and moral concerns. The proposed policy and legal framework is intended to address the existing gap by establishing a coherent and forward-looking view of the gambling sector as a force for social progress,” said the task force’s vice-chairperson, Gideon Thuranira.

BCLB, which is domiciled in the Interior ministry, has been the sector’s regulator and licenses betting and gaming premises, imposes and recovers taxes from the sector, authorises lotteries and prize competition and bars illegal gambling.

As of November last year, BCLB had licensed 105 bookmakers, 57 public gaming firms and 13 public lotteries.

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