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Kenya casino workers call for the reopening of businesses amid COVID-19

Kenyan casino employees have made an appeal to Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiang’i requesting the right to reopen their businesses with preventative measures to address COVID-19. 

Press conference Kenya Casino EmployeesUnion / SiGMA“Our lives will be headed for doom if the government does not intervene and solve work-related issues,” employees plead as they are move to smaller houses as they can no longer afford to pay their bills. Meanwhile for others, their families were sent back to villages.

Chairman Mark Wanyanga addressed that numerous people have been laid off since March, around the time when the first coronavirus cases were detected in the country.

Wanyanga further states: “We are requesting the CS to consider reopening our businesses to enable us earn a living”.

While Kenya is one of the top casino markets in Africa, has greatly benefitted from the digitalisation of the sector, and has seen an expansion into the sports betting market, many employees have faced challenging times in the hands of COVID-19. 

Workers also said that they were drowning in debt and received warnings from auctioneers and lenders stating that they will issue penalties upon further delays of loan payments.

Benson Luganji, representative of the Kenyan Casino Employees Union declared during a press conference on August 15th: “Banking institutions have equally refused to issue moratoriums thus [worsening] the problem. Our situation is bad since most of our members have been rendered homeless as they cannot pay rent. Some are clueless as to what to do with their families and majority are depressed by the risk of permanent job loss".

If the situation continues, even foreigners who are employed in the sector will be affected; resulting in mass unemployment. This would be disastrous as Wanyanga notes that the industry employed more than 10,000 people who are direct or indirect caretakers of at least 30,000 others.

About SiGMA Europe - Malta

SiGMA Group has announced the postponement of its Europe summit, which was planned to be held in Malta on 17-19 November 2020. The show will now open its doors early next year in February, running from the 16-18th, making it the first event to headline the 2021 gaming calendar.

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