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Matiang’i turns guns blazing to betting firms foreign investors

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Over 50,000 Kenyans blacklisted by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) over defaults in repaying loans are gamblers, noted Interior Security Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i during a meeting with betting stakeholders in Nairobi on Monday.

Dr Matiang’i blamed local betting companies for turning the youths into huge borrowers whom are mostly jobless.

“Most of our youths are in gambling but they are jobless hence they have to borrow money to gamble… the average income for the youths associated with betting ranges between Sh 5,000 – Sh 10,000” said Dr Matiang’i.

He urged the government to regulate the sector that has absorbed many youths adding that the gaming companies owe the government taxes of up to Sh26 billion.

According to a study by Transunion Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), 316,455 people in 600,000 had been blacklisted for defaulting loan balances of less that Sh100 linked with mobile money.

“Uncontrolled gambling has reorganized the financial lives of poor Kenyans in very drastic ways. This money is directly pocketed by firms owned by non-Kenyans.”

{ Read: Betting ads ban suspended as gamble pays off }

This comes as the CS directed ImmigrationPrincipal secretary Gordon Kihalangwa to revise the working permits of foreigners who have invested in the betting industry.

He warned that deportation orders will be issued to foreign investors who will be on the forwarded list from the Immigration Department.

Dr Matiang’i revealed that about 90 percent of investors in the betting firms are foreigners who take most of their revenue back to their home countries.

“We will not allow other people to come and spoil our youth doing unlawful business in Kenya,” said Dr Matiang’i.

The gaming companies have turned to the court of law to bar collection of tax and new imposed regulations frustrating the work of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the fight against the vice.

In the last five years, the betting industry has seen a turn over of 10,000 percent growth rate that increased from Sh2 billion to approximately Sh200 billion.

{ See also: SportPesa betting winner giving KRA sleepless nights }

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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