As some Kenyan betting fans face Monday blues over the exit of SportPesa and Betin from the Kenyan market, a parliamentary committee chairman Kanini Kega is a happy man.
Mr Kega, who heads the National Assembly Committee on Trade, says the closure of shop of the two firms will help improve the lives of the youth.
Gambling, he says, has made some of youth become addicts and unproductive members of the society.
“Betting does not create wealth,” he said on Sunday at Kabiruini PCEA in Nyeri.
“It is unfortunate that the two firms closed shop. I know a few people who were employed lost their jobs, but I insist that the kind of companies we are going to support are those that come in terms of industries that will create job opportunities for our people but not addiction.”
Mr Kega said although the government welcomes foreign investors, the mushrooming of betting firms was not beneficial to the economy.
SportsPesa’s and Betin’s exit, he said, has little, if any, impact on the Kenyan economy.
His comments came as it emerged that more than 2,500 people, the majority Kenyans, have since been rendered jobless by the closure of the two firms.
The two firms, which controlled more than 60 percent of the betting market share in Kenya, stopped operations following a prolonged tax standoff with the government.
The betting firms said they had resorted to take the action after the taxes slapped on the industry made the business no longer viable.
SportPesa said it was disappointed with the decision by the Kenyan MPs to impose a 20 percent excise tax on all betting stakes.
On its side, Betin said it was facing financial constraints resulting to deterioration of the profitability.
But MP Kega stated that the gaming companies were not adding value to the economy or creating wealth for Kenyans.
“As a government we welcome those companies that want to invest in our country, those who will create wealth for our people, but some investors like those engaging in betting business are not adding any value,” said the MP.