MPs to summon CS Nkaissery over sports betting
14 September 2016, 14:54
Nairobi - MPs will summon Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to shed light on measures the ministry has in place to protect Kenyans from extortion by betting firms.
Members of the Parliamentary Labour and Social Welfare Committee Wednesday resolved that Nkaissery should appear before the team, after officials from Betting and Licensing Board failed to convince them on the strategies the body has to protect the public from being fleeced.
The Board's Chairman Anthony Kimani and the Gaming Director Charles Wambia who appeared before the Matungu MP David Were led committee, were hard pressed to explain what the agency is doing to curb malpractices in the multi-million gambling industry.
Earlier during the session, John Serut (Mt Elgon) decried the increase of betting firms and businesses in the country, pointing out that some of the operators in the industry are conducting their business illegally as they have no licenses.
"Can you shed light to this committee on what are the requirements for one to operate a betting outlet in this country? What does it take for a company to be licensed?" he posed.
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Kimani said one must have a company registered locally and premise which should be far away from public amenities like schools, hospitals and churches or mosques. He added that shareholders of the company are vetted by the board to ensure they have no criminal record.
"Thirty percent of the shares of the firm should be held by local Kenyans. They should also show they have financial competency to pay the winners," added Mr Kimani, who explained that 43 public gaming casinos and 32 betting firms have been licensed to operate in the country.
Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) noted that there has been a lot of uproar over the number of underage children who engage in sport betting, wondering what interventions the agency has formulated to safeguard minors.
"The industry is growing and many young people are participating in betting, but we have made it clear to all licensed operators that those under 18 years should not be involved in the activity," explained Wambia.
Mr Were, the committee chair directed that Nkaissery and the Ministry's Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho should appear before the committee, after it emerged the officials are non-executive members of the board.
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