MP calling for slots ban in Kenya

MP calling for slots ban in Kenya

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Jakoyo Midiwo is calling for a ban on slots after failing to pass legislation

A Kenyan MP has called for slot machines in the country to be banned, warning that the current trend for gambling will break the economy.

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo recently failed in an attempt to tighten up gambling laws in Kenya, but still believes the spread of gambling threatens to make the operators extremely powerful when ‘an average of six million Kenyans place Sh100 (75p) bets daily’.

“We are not trying to put them out of business...” he complained. “Slot machines around the country should be declared illegal by executive order.”

Midiwo, who is also deputy minority leader in the National Assembly, also questioned whether it would hurt the country’s work ethic.

"Why go into poultry farming when you can get money on your phone without working hard? In Nyeri, when a mama mboga sells their wares, you find them gambling in slotting machines. Is this not hurting the economy?"

He was also critical of the money spent by Kenyan bookmaker Sportesa in sponsoring the shirts of English Premier League side Hull City. “When a company sponsors a foreign team, they are telling you that they can export your money. That company could be exporting more money than what the government is borrowing.”

Sportesa’s sponsorship has been unexpectedly controversial in Kenya, given that the three year sponsorship deal has cost approximately £9m (Sh1.2bn).

Sportesa CEO Ronald Karauri stated that plan was for the company to open up betting in Europe and other African countries. He added: “SportPesa is a brand powered by Kenyan technology. The plan is to have the brand doing business in four continents going forward.”

Totally Gaming Says: While Midiwo appears extreme in his rhetoric against the gambling industry, behind the scenes it seems that is pushing to get the industry regulated to ensure there is no tax evasion and money laundering, and that and it is run according to international best practices. Those are moves that would be welcomed by some gambling operators.

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