National Lottery could be the answer to Kenya’s perennial sports funding challenges
What you need to know:
- Initial indication is that 50 percent of the proceeds from Kenya’s proposed National Lottery will go towards payouts with 38 percent assigned to “good causes” and the rest for administration.
- Among the “good causes”, “sports, recreation, arts, culture and national heritage” has been assigned 20 percent with 40 percent of the lottery’s proceeds going to “charitable causes”, 30 percent to “economic empowerment”, eight percent to “signature transformation projects” and the remaining two percent to “emergencies.”
The Presidential Task Force on the establishment of a National Lottery has called for public participation as it seeks to launch the lottery’s operations.
Kenyans are expected to dissect the Draft Gambling Policy (2023), Draft Gambling Control Bill (2023) and Draft National Lottery Bill (2023), legislation around which the National Lottery will be anchored.
While the National Lottery Bill (2023) seeks to establish the National Lottery, National Lottery Board and National Lottery Fund, the Gambling Control Bill (2023) basically focuses on regulating betting.
The Gambling Policy (2023) sets out to transform gambling into a force for social progress while promoting responsible gaming.
This follows President William Ruto’s appointment of the 25-member Task Force, headed by billionaire industrialist Narendra Raval, on March 17 to, inter alia, review best practices, develop policy and lay out an implementation plan that would yield the National Lottery.
Other members of the Task Force’s Steering Committee include Gideon Thuranira (vice-chairman), Paul Russo, Judith Karigu Kiragu, Anne Wakathiru Njenga, Grace Kamau, Abdillahi K. Mutwafy and Jackline Chelangat Tonui.
The Task Force’s Technical Committee is headed by Linda Musumba with its membership including Wanjiku Wakogi, Eric Aligula, Collins Kiprono, Peter Mbugi, Fred Mbasi and Geoffrey Malombe, Eric Korir, Wilson Njenga, Catherine Ochanda and Murimi Murage with Clinton Mwita and Margaret Githaiga the Joint Secretaries.
The government is represented by the Principal Secretaries from Treasury, Interior, Culture and Heritage alongside the Solicitor-General with the Council of Governors also on board.
This is a most welcome move as sport will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the proposed National Lottery.
The Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund, as it currently exists, has been struggling to raise adequate funding for sports programmes, hence the need for fresh, non-government revenue streams that offer the struggling taxpayer some relief.
Over the years, efforts to launch a national lottery have proved futile, with the Vision 2030 Development Secretariat the latest to mull over the idea, projecting a Sh500 million annual cash injection into sports development from a proposed, still-born National Sports Lottery Fund.
The world over, national lotteries have been central to funding sports programmes and developing sports infrastructure with over 80 countries having adopted this model.
We at Nation Sport are currently running a series on our public sports facilities which paints a grim picture of the status of our sports venues.
Poor facilities of course lead to poor global performances and the positive impact of lottery funding for our sport cannot be gainsaid.
Since the introduction of a National Lottery that finances sports development in 1997, for instance, the United Kingdom’s competitiveness at the Olympic and Paralympic Games - through “Team GB” - has improved and medal count increased.
The UK model has also brought sanity to national federations as funding depends largely on medal potential, meaning that only sports that show promise and are managed impeccably receive lottery funding.
It's worth noting that the UK Lottery also contributed about 2.2 billion pounds (about Sh355 billion in current exchange rates) towards costs of hosting the highly successful 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In the USA, lotteries are owned and managed by the individual states with proceeds helping fund various socio-economic programmes, including sports.
In France, part of the proceeds from the National Lottery – run by La Francaise des Jeux - go towards direct employment of over 1,570 coaches in 89 sports federations.
In the Netherlands, the National Lottery allocates about six percent of its profit to sport, with elite sports handed 40 percent, 10 percent going to “Sports for All” programmes and the remaining 50 percent voted for infrastructure development.
Germany has a dedicated sports lottery (Deutsche Sportlotterie), which was established in 2015, focused on funding high performance sport.
About 30 percent of the lottery’s proceeds is for direct athlete support for about 4,000 athletes, while another 30 percent goes to payouts to winners, 22 percent to administration and 17 percent as lottery tax to the government.
In New Zealand, the country’s Parliament established a Lottery Grants Board to distribute proceeds from the national lottery (Lotto New Zealand) with sports one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Statistics available at Betting Control and Licensing Board for the 2022/23 financial year indicates that Kenya has 13 public lotteries, 56 public gaming concerns alongside 105 bookmakers duly registered.
Kenya is the third-largest gambling market in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria with the industry realizing Sh202 billion in revenues in 2019.
This strongly indicates the massive potential for revenue generation in this sector.
Enacting legislation that would pave way for the National Lottery is certainly the right move to tap into this market for the benefit of the “hustler.”
Initial indication is that 50 percent of the proceeds from Kenya’s proposed National Lottery will go towards payouts with 38 percent assigned to “good causes” and the rest for administration.
Among the “good causes”, “sports, recreation, arts, culture and national heritage” has been assigned 20 percent with 40 percent of the lottery’s proceeds going to “charitable causes”, 30 percent to “economic empowerment”, eight percent to “signature transformation projects” and the remaining two percent to “emergencies.”
This is a good place to start as we look forward to public participation and hope Parliament fast-tracks implementation of the enabling legislation.
Makori is the Managing Editor (Sports) at Nation Media Group. [email protected]