East African Governments Come Down Hard On Gambling Operators

East African Governments Come Down Hard On Gambling Operators April 8, 2019 April 8, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Legislation April 8, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton
east africa

The African market is considered one of the fastest growing markets in the gambling industry as both land based and online gambling revenues have continued to increase every year.

There are a number of positive outcomes that have resulted from the booming gambling industry but there are also serious concerns that have especially troubled East African governments.

Kenya and Uganda are two countries that have witnessed a surge in gambling addiction, minors getting involved in betting and social issues caused by their citizens who have gotten into debt to finance their betting and gambling related activities.

The two countries have tried to impose restrictions on the gambling industry by imposing restrictions on the importation of gaming devices, increasing gaming taxes, sending warnings to gambling operators to do more to address the issue of problem gambling and confiscating and burning slot machines.

Kenya raised its gaming taxes in an effort to curb gambling operators but legislators lobbied and brought down the gaming taxes to 15 percent. Uganda has now increased its gaming taxes to 35 percent. Kenya has also confirmed that as of July 1, all gambling licenses will be suspended in the country and any renewal will take place only after a thorough investigation is carried out to confirm that the gambling operator is tax compliant.

Uganda has decided to clean up their industry and will not renew any gambling, sports betting or gaming licenses. The government has also stated that it will not be issuing any more new gambling licenses going forward.

Serious Concerns Over Problem Gambling

The gambling industry in Kenya generated $1.9 billion in revenue during 2018 while Tanzania collected $36 million in gaming revenues. While these are big numbers, the East African nations are forced to address the growing concerns of problem gambling.

Stats from Kenya show that more than 500,000 young Kenyans have borrowed money to gamble and will now struggle to pay their debt. A GeoPoll survey show that individuals between 17 and 35 from Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria will spend an average of $50 per month on sports betting and gambling services via their mobile phones.

East African governments know that they need to address the issue of problem gambling immediately before it grows into an epidemic and gets out of control. However, the stringent regulations on the legalized gambling industry, could open the door for illegal operators to enter the market and provide their services!

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world