The gaming industry generates a considerable amount of tax revenue around the world, primarily to support local health and education systems. In a US revenue report, the US industry generated $161.24 billion in revenue in 2018. According to some estimates, the casino market (offline and online) alone generated $227 billion. dollars in 2022, while that of sports betting is on track to reach a size of $179 billion by 2028, according to Zion Market Research.
One of the sponsors of the proposed amendments in Nairobi, Waithera Chege, representative of South B ward, believes that the legislative changes will help prevent gambling addiction and guide young people in Kenya to productive work. Further, Elle Chege said that, in line with the proposed amendment to the Nairobi County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Bill, – “All licensed lottery, betting and gaming sites and Gaming websites should only operate within the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM.”
Young Kenyans play the most in sub-Saharan Africa
GeoPoll is a mobile survey platform that conducts surveys by mobile phone in collaboration with its various partners around the world. It manages call centers in more than sixty countries and has carried out surveys on various topics in more than eight regions, mainly in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Regarding the latter continent, this company conducted a study on spending in 2017, which revealed that the betting industry in sub-Saharan Africa is still a very nascent sphere, since only 3% of young consumers surveyed admitted to betting regularly. money aside to play. . Even if 54% of people aged 17 to 35 say they have tried gambling. Kenya has the highest youth participation rate of any country surveyed, at 76%. Uganda comes second with a participation rate of 57%.
What is curious about the 2017 GeoPoll survey is that the gambling frequency of most Kenyans is higher than that of their American counterparts. Kenyans prefer betting on sporting events the most and do so mostly once a week. The weekend matches of the English Premier League dominate as the preferred betting choice for Kenyan young adults. Moreover, 96% of those who indulge in this hobby in Kenya do so through their mobile phones. This is the highest smartphone betting turnout in Africa.
Factors Influencing the Growth of Gambling in Kenya
Undoubtedly, the growing societal acceptance of gambling activities as a recreational form and a pastime that promises economic benefits has greatly fueled the rise of gambling in Kenya. In addition to this, the country’s endorsement to allow gambling related recreation to fill government coffers has also played a huge role in the proliferation of gambling in the country. This is evident as, in the 2016/2017 financial year, the Kenya Revenue Authority levied $33 million in tax on gross gambling revenue. Given that the tax rate was 7.5% for that period, the entire gambling industry in Kenya at the time was worth $440 million.
Since a significant part of the population still perceives gambling as an activity with many negative side effects on society, public pressure has resulted in a surcharge on bookmakers of 35% of their gross gambling revenue, which complained, forcing the government to reduce it to 15%. % during the 2018/2019 financial year.
Many experts agree that various socio-economic factors such as age, income level and marital status play a role in the growth of gambling in Kenya. Single men in their twenties are the most likely to bet regularly, with most funds coming from the HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) or their wage earnings.