Motor rally latest beneficiary of betting billions

The World Rally Championships, the Ministry of Health, national soccer team Harambee Stars and athletes are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Sh30.3 billion collected from gamblers by the Sports Fund.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed told MPs that out of the total collections, Sh7 billion was disbursed from the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to support universal health coverage (UHC).

“As of October 2021, the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund had collected Sh30.3 billion since it was operationalised in February 2019. We disbursed Sh7 billion to the Ministry of Health for UHC,” she said.

The Fund, whose main source of revenue is betting, gaming and lotteries, was established to offer support to sports federations, training and development of sports, culture and arts in Kenya.

“These monies have played an integral role in supporting several sporting activities in the country, ranging from cushioning athletes during the Covid-19 pandemic, facilitation of our various teams that participated in Tokyo Olympics, footing all expenses of Harambee Stars’ participation in 2019 AFCON in Egypt, funding improvement of our sports infrastructure like stadia among other many achievements, The bulk of the money went to social support including the UHC.”

– Ms Mohamed said when she appeared before the National Assembly’s Sports committee.

Amina Mohamed

The Fund was set up with the enactment of the Sports Act 2013. The law requires 60 percent of the total collections to go to social development, including UHC, and 40 percent to sports, culture and the arts.
Of 40 percent, the Sports Act stipulates that 35 percent should go to sports while five to 15 percent should be set aside for the arts. Ms Mohamed told MPs that the ministry spent part of the money to host the World Rally Championships, which returned to Kenya after a 19-year absence.

“We also spent part of the money to host or participate in major international championships including Regional, Continental and World Championships as well as Commonwealth, Olympic Games, Paralympics, Deaflympics,”-  she said.

Ms Mohamed said the challenge of uniforms, travel, accommodation, allowances and insurance for all sports have been sorted out through the Fund and allowed participants to compete in all disciplines.
The Fund has helped us clear all cash awards that have been due to athletes from 2010,” she said.
Part of the Sh30.3 billion went to the construction of stadia such as Jomo Kenyatta in Kisumu, Kirigiti, Chuka and Kinoru.

The ministry also spent some of the money on refurbishing the Tom Mboya statue, renovate Dedan Kimathi state, and construct the Ronald Ngala statue in Nairobi.

“We have rehabilitated the Vasco Da Gama [pillar] and we are building a sea wall around Fort Jesus,” Ms Mohamed said.

On FIFA’s suspension of Kenya, the Cabinet Secretary said the standoff will end in eight weeks when Kenya and the world football governing body resolve the issues.

“We now have a draft Football Kenya Federation (FKF) constitution which will undergo stakeholder consultations. After that, we will submit it to FIFA and FIFA and the government will set up a committee to oversee elections. We expect this to happen within 8 weeks or two months,” she said.

FIFA suspended Kenya on grounds of government interference with football activities in the country.


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