Republic of Kenya
Speech By Amb. (Dr.) Amina C. Mohamed, Egh, Cav, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry Of Sports, Culture And Heritage, During Submission Of Proposed Amendments To The Gaming Bill, 2020 (National Assembly Bill No. 38 Of 2019) And Presentation Of Resumption Of Sports Guidelines To The National Assembly Departmental Committee On Sports, Culture And Tourism
Hon. Patrick Makau, Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism;
Honourable Members of the Parliament;
Hon Hassan Noor Hassan, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage,
Joe Okudo, Principal Secretary, State Department for Sports,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to congratulate the Departmental Committee for sponsoring this Bill and a job well done in developing a framework to regulate the betting and gaming industry in our country. Indeed, it is a positive venture aimed at repealing the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, Cap 131 now archaic to deal with a reinvigorated industry.
I also wish to commend Mr. Chair, Honorable members of the Committee for taking the time to deliberate on the Bill and providing thought provoking amendments for our consideration to ensure that we move in the same direction as a nation.
Mr. Chair, I have had the opportunity to interrogate the Bill and the proposed amendments by the Committee, and it is my belief that the proposals formulated representing the Ministry’s views will complement this Bill. I have also noted in your Committee’s Report on the consideration of the Gaming Bill, 2019, various stakeholders provided invaluable input.
I have observed the Bill seeks to address the following issues among others;
- Repeal the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, Cap 131
- Delineate the functions of the National and County Government in matters relating to betting, lotteries and gaming.
- Establish the National Gaming Authority, National Lottery and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.
- Provide for application of licences and permits for lotteries and betting facilities
- Provide for licensing online gaming, control of online gaming activities and ensuring conformity of parties participating in online gaming
- Provision for general offences related to gaming
- Provide for dispute resolution mechanisms as well as establishing a Gaming Appeals Tribunal
Given that the Ministry is a key stakeholder in the gaming industry with betting and lotteries activities generating their revenues from sporting activities, I wish to highlight a few areas of concern:
- The Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund is currently a beneficiary of the taxes provided under section 69A of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, Cap 131. Should this Act be repealed, the sources of revenue of the Fund and the funded programs including sports, arts, social development and strategic interventions will be adversely affected
- While acknowledging that model and best practice in the gaming regime advocates for creation of a Trust Fund to administer proceeds from the National Lottery, establishment of the proposed National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund in our view, will result in duplication of roles since there already exists a Fund (Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund) established by the Government with the mandate of providing financial support to the sports, arts, social development and government strategic interventions. This Fund, draws its revenues from proceeds of gaming, betting, lottery and prize competition taxes.
It is our proposal therefore, that, revenue generated by the National Lottery and relevant apportionment derived from the gaming taxes be remitted into the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund as the case is under the current legal framework to fulfill its mandate in supporting the development and promotion of sports and arts and the promotion of social development including universal health care.
We shall expound on these and more observations and suggestions during this retreat. I urge this Committee to consider our proposal and assure that my Ministry will work together with the relevant players to support a properly regulated industry.
It is noteworthy that the public is now more vibrant and participates actively in online betting activities as a result generating revenue. I am optimistic that the gaming industry can be tapped into for good cause and elevate livelihoods of the populace as well as sportspersons who are our heroes. Indeed, opportunities such as sportspersons advertising for major betting companies is a testament to how this industry can be utilized to advocate for responsible and gainful betting activities.
I wish to thank the Committee for allowing us this opportunity to present our proposals and make a commitment that we will have a chance to further engage on this and other issues in promoting sports in our country.
Turning to the resumption of sports guidelines,
On Friday, 18th September 2020 I officially unveiled the first cycle of the Resumption of Sports guidelines.
These Guidelines address the following areas;
- Resumption to Training
- Pre-Competition Guidelines
- In-Competition Guidelines
- Post-Competition Guidelines
- Considerations for Persons with Disabilities and other Vulnerable Groups
- Guidelines for indoor and outdoor facilities
- Guidelines for Resumption of Water Sports
- Guidelines for Testing
- Guidelines for Junior Athletes (under 18 years)
The following are key highlights:
- All outdoor recreation and non-contact sporting activities will re-open in a phased manner as listed in the Guidelines;
- All Non-Contact Sports will reopen in a phased manner;
- All water sports will remain suspended until further notice;
- All contact sports will remain suspended until further notice.
- Testing will not be mandatory but where required, the cost shall be met by Federations, Sports Organisations, participants or event organizers as applicable.
- National Teams participating in international events in the Water Sports or Contact Sports categories will be required to seek special exemption from the Cabinet Secretary for Sports.
- All Under 18 Sports remain suspended. Special consideration will be granted to National Teams preparing for select international events.
- The Commissioner of Sports will work with National Teams and Athletes representing Kenya in international events to advise and guide on national and international compliance of COVID-19 regulations before departure and re-entry into the country.
- Support from Government will prioritize Team Kenya events in a manner to be determined by the Ministry in consultation with individual Federations.
- All Federations are required to submit their respective revised International Team Kenya event calendars to the Principal Secretary for Sports on or before 30th September 2020 for planning purposes.
- Private fitness clubs may re-open immediately and observe all the containment measures including strict social distancing, sanitization, handwashing among other measures as provided in the Guidelines. Strict adherence is expected from gym owners and users in this respect.
The Management of all Sports Federations, Management of Training Camps, Sports Academies, Sports Facilities and other Sports Institutions shall ensure enforcement and compliance of these Guidelines in order to secure the safety of our athletes, athlete support personnel, all staff, event organizers, and spectators.
Further, all sports events shall be planned and executed in accordance with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Directives.
Ladies and Gentlemen
These guidelines will change from time to time, depending on the global and local situational analysis of the pandemic guided by reports from the Ministry of Health.
I appointed a lean Monitoring and Evaluation Committee led by the Secretary of Administration, State Department of Sports to oversee the implementation and review of these guidelines as need arises in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
Chairman, Hon Members of Parliament
As key stakeholders, we will take you through these guidelines in detail for your input, suggestions and comments. Further, we request for your support in engaging your constituents and the rest of the parliamentarians in disseminating the contents therein at the grassroots level.
With these few remarks, I wish to declare this working retreat officially open.