Parents, tutors protest against betting mania
Ward administrators in Namanga say they have no powers to licence the equipment
Parents and teachers in Namanga and Kitengela towns are up in arms over the rising number of Chinese betting money machines that have taken a toll on their children’s education.
Most of the machines are in bar outlets. They said their children steal money for betting. They also accused bar owners and police of allowing children in bars.
The Star yesterday counted 120 Chinese betting money machines on the Kenyan side of the Namanga border town and at least 100 on the Tanzanian side.
In Kitengela alone, there were 300 machines and most of them are located in backstreet bars.
The county government has no control over the licencing of the betting companies. Ward administrator in Namanga Julius Rikanka said they have no powers to licence the equipment. It is only the National Betting Control and Licensing Board that is mandated to licence. Rikanka said there is a disconnect between the national and the county governments which creates such loopholes.
He said he has no official record of the total number of such machines in Namanga, whether legal or illegal.
Kitengela ward administrator Moses Kamalik said the county has no regulations on betting, and this will remain so until the assembly legislates on the issue. Kamalik also said he is unaware about the number of betting machines in his jurisdiction.
According to reliable sources from the national government, the small betting machines are supposed to attarct a license fee of Sh7,000. The bigger ones are charged Sh21,000 per year. Bar owners in Namanga and Kitengela said police officers on patrol only arrest those who engage in gambling and betting but they are not prosecuted because their machines are legally there.
They claimed one such small machine fetchs up to Sh15,000 per day. They are paid a commission by the Chinese businessmen based on what the machines collect.