Gambling business thrives in the South Rift region despite ban

Despite a ban by the government, slot coin lottery machines operators are are conducting booming business in the South Rift region in Kenya.

Bomet, Narok and Kericho counties have lately seen a rise in the number of shops conducting the gambling business in the open. In the last month, administrators have seized and burnt the devices following a public outcry.

Youths have been thronging the shops in the region to bet their money hoping to get a windfall and double it. Four Lotto machines were confiscated in Bomet town in an operation led by Township chief Rueben Ngetich and the instruments were later burnt.

“The machines were confiscated during a raid we conducted with security officers on December 23 and 24 in Bomet town” – Mr Ngetich said.

In Kericho more than 100 machines were destroyed at the county police headquarters in November last year with County Commissioner Kamau Karungo saying the crackdown to rid the region of the machines would continue.

“Some businessmen have been engaged in illegal business activities with youths engaged in gambling and we will ensure that the machines are destroyed and those involved brought to book,” – Mr Karungo said.

It came hot on the heels of a similar crackdown mid last year where 95 of the machines were confiscated and burnt.

Another 360 of the machines were destroyed in 2018 in one of the major crackdowns in the region.
Administrators have previously stated that the machines are owned by a businesswoman from the neighbouring Nakuru county.

Two years ago, the woman was said to have relocated from Nakuru after security officers repeatedly cracked down on her business operations following a government directive.

Gambling among the youth has been on the rise with some of them engaging in criminal activities including theft to get money to gamble. Students and women have also been engaged in gambling on the shops operating the slot machines.

Most of the shops have curtains drawn to conceal the activities inside from security officers and administrators. But the officers have repeatedly been accused of collecting protection money from the operators so as to allow the shops to operate.

Officers from the county government have also been accused of failing to revoke trading licences for the shops where the machines have been mounted despite the government banning the operations.


About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.