A total of seventeen foreigners involved in illegal gambling business in the country were Tuesday deported in strengthened efforts by the government to tame the betting craze.
This comes after the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i directed the Immigration PS Gordon Kihalangwa to review working permits of foreigners who had applied to conduct other businesses but ended up investing in the betting industry.
Those sent back to their countries include Chinese, Turkish and Spanish nationals.
Kenya currently has more than 30 licensed betting firms and casinos, although only a few are in operation .
“We are not using the guise of revenue to allow a broken sector… Over 90 percent of players in gaming are foreigners, they repatriate a huge amount of money to their countries.
“The craze of gambling in Kenya has caused dire social and economic strain at the behest of a few elite, majority of whom are non-Kenyans and live outside the country,” Matiang’i said at during the Betting Control and Licensing stakeholders meeting at the Kenya School of Government.
A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that the yearly turnover of the sports betting industry in Kenya is worth $20 million, and will reach $50 million in 2020 as demand grows.
The report further said Kenya is the third largest gambling market after South Africa and Nigeria respectively in Africa in terms of revenues. However, in terms of participants, Kenya could be ahead of its peers in the region.
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