The betting industry in Kenya has been active and flourishing until recently when the government woke up from its deep slumber and realized that the industry’s regulation was very wanting.
The government through its tax regulatory agency, KRA, banned some bettings sites from operation citing that they had failed to meet the regulatory requirements. This ban was announced by Dr. Fred Matiangi, the CS of Interior.
Earlier on, they had been an ongoing debate from legislators on the ethical and financial implications of gambling in Kenya where they shared that betting was putting more and more Kenyans in a vicious cycle of debts.
How true this is, is yet to be established. Word on the street, however, is that Kenyans are happy bettors and are gaining a lot from sports betting.
The ban has seen some of the most popular local betting sites such as Betin and Sportpesa among others out of the race, while leaving international betting giants like 1xBet free to take over the Kenyan betting market unabated.
This move by the government has affected both the betting sites, beneficiaries, sports industry and their fans in equal measures.
The exit of these betting sites has left such a big gap, especially in the local sports industry. Some of the teams were being fully sponsored by the betting companies and are now stuck financially. The Kenya Premier Leauge which was largely funded by Sportpesa is rumoured to have not paid some of their staff for months now and has lost some staff along the way due to their financial constraints.
With the exit of Sportpesa also, teams such as Igwe are also on the losing end. They have been left with debts and unless they get a new sponsor, the club could potentially close its doors.
That is not all, Betin was also forced to terminate their employees. Actually, the two firms alone terminated more than 2500 employees with most of them being Kenyans as they could not sustain them financially. This was rather foreseen since the Government has moved to court to force them to pay their pending tax remittances of 3 billion shillings.
In general, this move has and will for quite some time cripple the country’s economy. It will take some time before the betting industry gets back to where it was financially. Kenyan bettors have also complained of low profits in betting especially from local betting sites.
All is not lost though, there are still quite a large number of betting sites that are operational and bettors can still enjoy their profits and their gambling hobby. The active sites include:
To confirm whether or not a betting site was banned, trying making a deposit and if you get this message, know that it is no longer operational
Failed. Dear Customer, this Paybill is unavailable due to the Government directive to suspend Betting Paybill numbers. Kindly contact your Betting Company.
As we wait to see the next move of the government, we should anticipate the come back of the industry’s giants in the coming years. Sportpesa confirmed that they will reconsider a come back should the taxation laws become favorable.