BBI report wants sports betting scrapped


By DAVID KWALIMWA
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The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report has vouched for the formation of a government-run national lottery, as it happens in developed countries, whose proceeds will be used to uplift the youth, sports, culture and other social activities.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the much-awaited report in Nairobi on Wednesday at an event graced by about 5,000 delegates. Deputy President William Ruto, opposition leader Raila Odinga, and Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister Palagamba Kabudi were also present.

The report is, however, silent on what should happen to the Sports Fund, which currently performs the same role as the lottery.

The report also recommends the abolishment of betting, claiming it brings poverty. “Private betting is leading to hopelessness and greater poverty,” the report states.

The government has increased taxes and imposed stiff rules on betting in recent times, leading to the closure of giant firms SportPesa and Betin, rendering hundreds of Kenyans jobless.

Several sports entities including Kenyan Premier League clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, Kenya Premier League and Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) have suffered as a result of SportPesa’s closure. Athletes have not been paid their salaries for months.

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The BBI recommendations come at a time when the government is struggling to renovate and build new sports stadiums in the country.

Despite repeated promises by President Kenyatta, the government has also struggled to fund national teams competing in international assignments. It has also found the going tough after failing to raise enough resources to and pay athletes allowances.

The BBI team collected opinions from some 7,000 citizens drawn from all ethnic groups, genders, cultural and religious practices, and different social and economic sectors which were considered in compiling the 155-page report which ultimately aims to unite and empower Kenyans towards fulfilling their potential.


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