Kenyan Gambling Laws: What You Should Know

March 4, 2024

Sports betting and casino games are a favorite pastime for many Kenyans, but they also play a significant economic role.

With that growth, the government has implemented laws to ensure proper oversight so that games are fair and gamblers are protected.

To address this, the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) was established.

The BCLB is tasked with regulating all gambling activities in Kenya. It makes sure all gambling businesses operate legally and follow strict guidelines.

Knowing these laws can help players make informed decisions about gaming and playing responsibly.

Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act

Gambling in Kenya is governed by a set of laws and regulations intended to manage the industry’s growth.

The history of gambling legislation in Kenya can be traced back to the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act.

This law was among the first to outline the rules for gambling activities within the country by aiming to regulate and control the burgeoning gambling market.

This act is the basis for licensing and gambling practices. Under the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act, sports betting, casino games, and lotteries are allowed as long as they adhere to the regulations set forth by the law.

The BCLB was also created as a result of this act and is responsible for overseeing all gambling activities in the country.

Issuing licenses to gambling operators, ensuring compliance, and protecting the interests of the gaming public are among the BCLB’s duties. 

Important Laws for Gamblers

Multiple gambling laws in Kenya affect players. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone looking to gamble within the legal boundaries.

Age Restrictions

The legal gambling age in Kenya is 18, and it applies to all forms of gambling. Operators must verify their customers’ age to ensure compliance with this law.


In Kenya, gambling winnings are taxed by the government, and the gambling operator often deducts this tax before players receive their money.

The tax rate can change, so gamblers need to stay updated on the current rate. You can take a few steps to ensure you comply with tax requirements.

  1.   Understand the withholding tax: Familiarize yourself with the current withholding tax rate. At the time of writing this article, this tax is 20%.
  2.   Review your winnings: Keep track of your winnings and any taxes withheld. This information is often provided in your account statement or a summary provided by the gambling operator.
  3.   File tax returns: Depending on the total amount of your winnings and other income, you may be required to file an annual tax return. Include your gambling winnings and any taxes already withheld in your tax return.
  4.   Seek professional advice: Consult a tax professional if you’re unsure how to declare your winnings or comply with the tax requirements.

Penalties for Illegal Gambling

There are significant penalties for engaging in illegal gambling activities in Kenya.

All gamblers must understand the consequences of participating in such activities and how to distinguish legal and illegal gambling operations.

Consequences of Illegal Gambling

Individuals found participating in or operating illegal gambling activities may face fines, imprisonment, or both.

The severity of these penalties varies depending on the nature and extent of the unlawful activity.

Identifying Illegal Gambling

There are three ways players can identify when a gambling operator may be engaging in illegal gambling activities.

  1.   Licensing: Gamblers should look for a valid license issued by the BCLB, usually displayed on the operator’s website or premises.
  2.   Online presence: Legal operators tend to have a professional online presence, including a website with clear terms and conditions. They should also include the required information about responsible gambling practices and provide contact information.
  3.   Payment methods: If a gambling platform operates within the law, it should offer secure and recognized payment methods. Complying with financial regulations like anti-money laundering measures is also a mark of a legal enterprise.

Changes to Kenya’s Gambling Laws

Kenya’s gambling landscape has been subject to scrutiny and legislative changes, reflecting the government’s effort to regulate the industry more effectively and address public concerns about gambling’s social impact.

Recent Changes

In the last few years, adjustments have been made to Kenya’s regulatory framework governing gambling.

The government has revised tax rates on winnings and operator revenues.

There have been efforts to strengthen rules around online gambling, with new regulations introduced to enhance player protection and ensure responsible gambling practices. Limiting gambling hours is one change that has been made.

Proposed Changes

The social impact of gambling is highly debated around the world, not just in Kenya.

Lawmakers are proposing changes that focus on increasing the accountability of gambling operators. They’re also having conversations about the optimal taxation rates.

Responsible Gambling Measures

The BCLB encourages several measures to ensure responsible gambling. All operators must provide clear information to players about the risks of gambling, promote awareness of problem gambling, and offer support to those who may be affected.

Any advertising or promotions, like a Sweet Bonanza demo, cannot target vulnerable groups or minors and must not misrepresent the chances of winning.


The recent changes in gambling rules in Kenya reflect the government’s desire to balance the popular pastime and ensure operator responsibility.

Kenya has taken many strides to regulate gambling, from establishing the BCLB to implementing the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act.

For gamblers, understanding these laws and regulations isn’t just about adhering to legal requirements—it’s about gambling in a safe, responsible, and enjoyable way. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, with ongoing debates and potential legislation changes on the horizon, staying informed is essential.

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