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Crackdown on gambling saw machines seized and eight operators arrested :: Kenya

A gambler at some of the Chinese machines at Ahero market in Kisumu  (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)

A crackdown on gambling at the weekend saw 78 machines seized and eight operators arrested in Kericho and Ongata Rongai.

Officials said 53 machines were confiscated in Ongata Rongai from various shops and five operators arrested.

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In Kericho, 25 machines were seized and seven operators arrested.

This followed Friday’s order by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on illegal betting as well as the sale and consumption of illicit alcohol.

The ministry’s spokesman, Mwenda Njoka, said the operation would continue in other areas.

Dr Matiang’i directed county and regional commissioners to raid premises and confiscate unlicensed gambling machines in areas under their command.

The CS warned that foreigners involved in illegal betting would be arrested, charged, and deported.

INFORMAL SETTLEMENT

Some of the machines in informal settlement areas are being run by foreigners.

Police said some drug dealers have infiltrated the business.

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Matiang’i said the Government took the decision to protect school children, who are the biggest target of cheap and unregulated betting games.

“We have had instances where students drop out of school due to addiction. Some of these machines are operated by foreigners who are in the country illegally. We will not accept resurgence of illegal gambling machines and illicit brews anywhere in the country. Chiefs and their assistants must take personal responsibility to eradicate these vices,” he said.

The multi-billion shilling betting industry is at the centre of a storm because of a 35 per cent income tax recently imposed by the Government. Gaming companies have protested that the tax is too high.

The clampdown on illicit alcohol and gaming began in 2016 after a public outcry on their effect on adults and children.

 

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