Ruto boosts national lottery plan with two new Bills

Narendra Raval

Dr Narendra Raval. 

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has advanced plans to set up a national lottery with two new Bills set to be introduced in Parliament on Monday to guide implementation of a scheme that will give betting firms a run for their money.

The Head of State last month set up a 25-member presidential taskforce to establish a National Lottery led by billionaire Narendra Raval.

The team has finalised the Gambling Control Bill, 2023, and the National Lottery Bill, 2023 which are expected to be released for public scrutiny on Monday.

Proceeds from the National Lottery are expected to boost current allocations to the sector under the Sports Arts and Social Development Fund, which draws the bulk of its funding from proceeds from betting, gaming, and lotteries.

Additionally, the National Treasury is considering tax incentives for corporate sponsorship, a dedicated or ring-fenced tax, and a public-private partnership framework for infrastructure development

The taskforce yesterday said it has been benchmarking against other countries that have run national lotteries for decades such as the US, UK, South Africa, and Singapore to learn best practices in running the proposed lottery.

It said the proceeds will be used to support various charitable activities including sports initiatives, arts, business support, and emergency response to droughts, floods, fires, and pandemics.

“The national lottery will be used to support good causes where the money will be used to benefit the people of Kenya,” Mr Raval, who is chairing the steering committee, told the press.

Despite existence of public lotteries such as the Kenya Charity Sweepstake and Win Lotto, Kenya does not have a National Lottery.

A National Lottery is a State franchised lottery raising money for the arts, sports, and charities by selling numbered tickets and giving prizes to holders of numbers drawn at random.

In countries such as the US, National Lotteries are central to revenue mobilisation by States who run popular lotteries such as Mega Millions and Powerball as designated National Lotteries.

“One of the criteria that will be used to decide how to utilise the proceeds is that individuals or groups can apply to the lottery fund to propose how part of the funds will be shared,” said Alex Mwaniki who is part of the taskforce’s technical committee team.

“The lottery fund on its own motion will also be able to decide how to share out the proceeds to the selected good causes,” he said.