Kenyan Authorities Burn 110 Illegal Gambling Machines

  • Several people accused of operating these illegal gambling machines have been arrested
  • Wilfred Nyagwanga believes that gambling is a massive scourge on entire communities
  • Called on the public to help him and his team oust gambling syndicates from the region
Kiambu County of Kenya flag
Kenyan authorities have continued to clamp down on illegal gambling operations by seizing and burning 110 machines across Kiambu County. [Image:]

Raids across Kiambu County

Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga headed a series of raids across Kiambu County this week, resulting in 110 illegal gambling machines being confiscated and set on fire.

Government officials also burned over 400 liters of illegal alcohol. In total, they seized and destroyed goods valued in excess of KES8m ($78,961).

Speaking about these seizures, Nyagwanga said that several people suspected of selling alcohol and operating these illegal gambling machines have since been arrested. Authorities are actively seeking other suspects who have since gone into hiding.

seized and destroyed goods valued in excess of KES8m ($78,961)

A directive from Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i led to the seizure of these illegal gambling machines

Nyagwanga to take further action

Nyagwanga believes that gambling is immoral and worse than the HIV/AIDS virus spreading. He said that the whole community is affected economically as a result of gambling. 

He plans to end the craze of people gambling by the end of 2020. He has called on the community to help him and his team to prevent gambling from hampering their lives.

Nyagwanga plans further raids to disrupt other illegal gambling operations in the region, focusing mainly on areas where there is a lot of crime.

Just last month in Nyanza Province, a preacher was killed by locals for trying to take a gambling machine from the area. The priest claimed that he was trying to protect the locals from the scourge of gambling. However, a mob proceeded to kill the preacher.

Huge demand for gambling in Kenya

Gambling is very popular in Kenya, particularly among younger people. Illegal gambling operations often entice young people who are still in school. Many of them leave school prematurely in order to try and make easy money by gambling. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta is in favor of a complete ban on gambling. Back in August, he urged lawmakers to bring him a bill to sign that would do just that. 

As stated in a report by PWC, profits from the Kenyan gambling market were set to hit $50m in 2020. However, authorities have been in a standoff with operators over alleged unpaid taxes. Many officials believe that eradicating gambling is more important than losing out on tax revenue.