Gambling Equipment Burnt In Kenya As Sports Betting Fever Hits
Governments spend months and sometimes years trying to come up with a viable solution that will curb problem gambling in the country. There are a number of different ways to address this issue but James Kianda, the Bungoma County Commissioner decided to take things in his own hand and address the issue of problem gambling by setting ablaze betting machines in the Webuye West constituency.
Gaming Machines Set On Fire
Kenya has seen a surge in sports betting in light of the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in Africa. The African continent is crazy about football and has a massive fan following, especially amongst fans below 18 years. A number of these young people have taken to dropping out of school, cutting classes and visiting the numerous betting shops spread across Kenya.
They get to watch live action and often end up placing small bets on the games. There are reports that these youngsters often steal money from their parents or steal items to get money to place sports bets. Sports betting is thriving in Kenya and there are a number of betting shops that have set up operations without having a proper license to do so.
The Bungoma County Commissionerdecided that setting betting machines on fire was the way to set an example and he along with state authorities stormed the Matisi shopping centre, seized as many as 40 betting machines and then set them on fire. He now plans to carry out similar raids in Chwele, Kimilili, Webuye and some of the other major cities in Kenya.
In a statement, Commissioner Kianda said “The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) is the only mandated to license betting firms that engage in legal business. We will arrest even those businessmen with single business permits and have betting machines in their shops.”
One of those betting shop owners lashed out at the Commissioner and said that if they wanted to stop sports betting, they shouldn’t just target the small shops but also shutdown major sports betting firms from operating in the country.