No New Slot Machine Imports to Kenya? No Problem

Lee R. - January 22, 2017

Kenya can be a regulation leader in the global region needing regulation benefits the most.

According to the Kenya government, the importing of gambling machines simply won’t play.

Protecting the Public

Citing concerns that the country is gambling crazy, Commissioner of Customs and Border Control Julius Musyoki Kenya Friday posted to the official Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) website a notification to importers, customs agents and the general public that the government had “stopped importation of all gaming equipment, machines and devices forthwith,” with future importation of any physical gaming devices requiring clearance from the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

Party Line

Gaming governing body Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) director Charles Wambia characterizes the ban as “a control measure so that we do not allow machines to come into the country that are substandard.”

Getting Control of Activity

However, on the basis of quotes from other unnamed Interior Ministry officials, many media outlets are already reporting the import ban is in reality being enacted as a preventative measure against a continuance of the rise of illegal gambling operations run by Chinese nationals in the wake of numerous illegal slots operations arrests across mostly residential neighbourhoods.

Source of Concern

The arrests and bans come on the spurs of a warning written by BCLB chairman Anthony Kimani Kung’u just last October to county commissioners regarding illegal gaming machines “installed by some Chinese in cahoots with some unscrupulous local businessmen, especially bar owners.”

Greater Implications for Regulation

This news may have people thinking short in what is really one of Africa’s potentially model markets. With over 30 BCLB-licensed companies already installed and offering a range of gaming activities led by casinos and online sports betting, the government installed a new tax regime last autumn which was accompanied by a commitment to new gaming legislation adapting restrictions to this ever-growing sector.

Couldn’t be Appier 

The BCLB has authorized the country’s first mobile casino app enabling players to use local currency. Proudly developed by Nairobi-based Rambo Resource Ltd and just completing a one month beta test, GameMania features real-money and free-play slots, big wheel and baccarat games. The app is currently available for Android, but iOS users can still join the fun via mobile browser.

Kenya’s Promising Adaptation

The new import laws will clearly help clean up the market as the Kenya government seeks to regulate all forms of gambling within the country, as one of Africa’s most progressive nations prepares to optimize a regulation model.

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