Could Betting Firms Be Driving Kenyans Into Poverty?Yes, Says Women Rep Joyce Emanikor

An MP has warned that many Kenyans will get poorer if a new regulatory framework is not put in place to check foreign betting companies.

Turkana County Woman Representative Joyce Emanikor said the firms are fleecing citizens as money deducted from “our phones when we bet” is transferred straight out of the country.

“Just record and calculate the little money you put in every time you bet then compare with what you receive. Do the maths for a month. Do we really want to see a society poorer than we already are?” Emanikor wondered.

Read: MPs reject select team to probe betting

“Let’s take for example one of the sport betting companies where you use Sh100 to bet and assume three million Kenyans bet daily- that’s a cool Sh300 million per day,” she said.

According to Emanikor, if the factors remained constant, it will translate to a lucrative Sh9 billion a month.

“This calculation, however, is on the lower side assuming fewer people bet only once a day. The amount could be tenfold or more! Even in the developed world the sector is restricted and regulated. In Kenya all the big billboards and TVs have suddenly turned to betting adverts,” she noted.

Read: Betting should be controlled, says Mutua

She said out of the billions raised, only a few thousands will be paid to a few people plus Sh100 million in jackpot.

Her concerns come after the National Assembly failed in its bid to set up a select committee to investigate the activities of the betting, lotteries and gaming firms operating in the country.

Read: MPs form 11-member team to probe gambling industry in Kenya

The motion by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo was defeated after MPs questioned the list fronted to investigate the firms.

“Is this money laundering? Of course yes. It’s a crime in itself. Experts in economy say within the next few years Kenya will have lost trillions of shillings through robbery without violence. Its robbery with the victim’s consent – but based on ignorance,” Emanikor said.

She said that majority Kenyans were betting out of ignorance and the need to make quick money.

Cases of students who have either committed suicide or dropped out of school for having lost money meant for school fees in lottos are on the increase.

Also read; Panel to probe betting industry in wake of tax evasion, laundering fears