By Nelson Bwire,
As a leader in the gaming awareness team, I recently led a presentation before parliament members following an invitation to contribute to the Gambling Control Bill and the National Lottery Bill 2023. Our goal was to shed light on the far-reaching effects of gambling and advocate for responsible practices that safeguard our society.
Exploring Gambling’s Socio-Economic Impact:
Our team conducted extensive research, diving into the complexities surrounding gambling in Kenya. Our presentation wasn’t just about statistics; it aimed to uncover the societal implications of excessive gambling and offer viable solutions for a responsible gambling environment.
The Harms of Gambling Addiction:
We addressed the pressing issue of gambling addiction and its profound impact on mental health. Through real-life stories and expert insights, we highlighted the harsh reality of addiction and emphasized the urgent need for support systems and interventions to assist affected individuals.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups:
Our focus extended to safeguarding vulnerable populations, especially children and adolescents, from the adverse effects of unregulated gambling. We stressed the importance of educational initiatives to empower parents, schools, and communities to identify warning signs and implement preventive measures.
Advocating for Regulatory Measures:
Our presentation strongly advocated for robust regulatory frameworks governing the online gambling industry. We proposed the necessity of responsible gaming regulations that promote ethical practices, consumer protection, and collaboration between government bodies and mental health professionals.
Engaging with Parliament and Insights:
Interacting with parliament members was enlightening. Their inquiries reflected genuine concerns about the societal impacts of gaming. We discussed potential policy amendments, educational campaigns, and the significance of industry cooperation in promoting responsible gaming.
The outcome was encouraging. Parliament showed keen interest in further discussions, signalling an openness to explore policy adjustments and initiate awareness programs. It highlighted the necessity for collective efforts to address gaming-related issues. Some of our submissions were recently included in the final consideration on page 52 http://www.parliament.go.ke/sites/default/files/2023-11/Report%20on%20the%20consideration%20of%20the%20Gambling%20control%20Bill%202023.pdf
Our ongoing journey aims to drive continued dialogue and action, protecting individuals and communities from gambling-related harms. Presenting before parliament was a crucial step in this. The ball is now in the court of the highest law-making body in Kenya! Time for Action!