Parliament Targets to End SportPesa Dominance and Reduce Betting among University Students

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The Kenyan parliament is looking forward to end the dominance of SportPesa in the gambling industry.  The members of parliament have come up with a bill that will regulate the billions of money being controlled by the Gambling companies. The Midiwo tabled bill aims to reduce the amount used in betting by individual gamblers. It also demands that the proceeds of gambling with have to be channeled through a specific bank account.

According to Midiwo, his bill will go along way in saving campus students from the jaws of betting companies who have milked them dry. Midiwo cited students who have lost school fees to the gambling giants especially SportPesa in recent years as the base of his bill.

Even as this happens, a showdown looms in Parliament between the opposition and the government over control of the multi-billion shilling gambling industry, with each side seeking to have its Bill adopted by the House.

However, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, the sponsor of the Betting Control Amendment Bill, said he would oppose such plans.


Mr Midiwo said only amendments from the government sponsored Bill — the draft Gambling Bill and Regulations which was presented before the National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare committee by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery last week — would be allowed to enrich his Bill.

“This is a party (ODM) sponsored Bill and there is no way the government will be allowed to sneak in its Bill and take over our initiative,” he said.

Mr Midiwo’s Bill was tabled in the House about two weeks ago and is now before the Labour committee chaired by Matungulu MP David Were, where it will be subjected to stakeholder involvement.

Both Bills seek to introduce regulatory measures on the betting industry, believed to rake in billions of shillings monthly.


Efforts to have Mr Nkaissery’s Bill replace the one sponsored by ODM through Mr Midiwo is beset by many roadblocks — such as being time barred, as the opposition one is already tabled in the House, kick-starting legislative process to it becoming law, while the government one is still in draft form.

But appearing before the committee last week, Mr Nkaissery expressed hope that a compromise would be found, proposing a workshop with the committee, Mr Midiwo, and ministry officials, including experts from the Betting Control and Licensing Board, that will see the two bills merged to a single government-sponsored legislation.

However, Mr Midiwo said he would not attend such talks. Mr Muturi had directed Mr Were to ensure the committee had completed taking the Bill through all the legislative processes and have it before the House by Wednesday for debate, and it remains to be seen whether time will be extended to give an opportunity for the two sides to reach a compromise.

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