In Kenya, four Kisumu District County politicians have called on the national government to investigate claims that coin-operated slots are being illegally smuggled into the African nation by foreign nationals posing as tourists.
According to a report from the Daily Nation newspaper, Kisumu District County MPs Olago Oluoch and Shabbil Shakir have joined with local ward representatives James Were and Gabriel Ochieng to ask for the enquiry following the recent arrests by police in the small region of 14 foreign nationals as well as the confiscation of over 500 slots.
“The Chinese are now changing tact by installing the machines in private homes where young people flock to bet and the owner earns some discount,” Oluoch told the Daily Nation. “These foreigners are now a security threat.”
The newspaper reported that this year has seen police seize hundreds of illegal slots in six of Kenya’s 46 counties including the heavily populated Kakamega County and Nakuru County while the Kisumu District County politicians want the government to establish just how the machines are making their way into the East African nation.
“We want to know the procedure taken at the customs to admit the machine into the country,” Shabbir told the Daily Nation. “They end up in our slums and impoverish our people further, which is very sad.”
Oluoch, whose Kisumu District County West constituency has reportedly been particularly affected, declared that local security agencies are working hard to confiscate the illicit machines but it is often difficult to arrest the foreign-born ringleaders as they employ locals to run the businesses and only collect money at convenient times.
Peter Karoki, Regional Assistant Director for Kenya’s Immigration And Registration Of Persons Directorate, explained that those smuggling the slots are mainly Chinese nationals that enter the country as tourists.
“Our concern as a department is to deal with the immigrants but it should be interrogated how foreign cars and the gambling machines get into the country,” Karoki told the Daily Nation. “It is the work of the [Customs Services Department].”