The Betting Craze in Kenya: Sportpesa beyond Kenya

By Juma Fred / July 25, 2016

sports betting

The Kenyan online gaming company SportPesa has signed a multi-million-pound deal to be an official sponsor of Hull City Tigers.

SportPesa have now signed a three-year deal with Hull City and will have their name and company logo on the Tigers’ home, away and third shirts for the 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons according to information posted on the Hull City Tigers’ website.

According to the team’s management, the new sponsorship from SportPesa deal is the most lucrative in the Club’s proud 112-year history.

“We are delighted to form a three-year partnership with SportPesa.” Said Mr Simon King, the Commercial Manager at Hull City Tigers, “SportPesa are so much more than a betting brand, this is a company with a huge footprint across grassroots sports in Kenya, as well as the rest of Africa. The deal is by far the largest in our history and a sign of our ambition to grow our club and become a household name in our sport globally.” He added.

Read: Responsible Gaming Should be Driven on Regulations and Innovation

SportPesa started as a small company way back in 2014 and has tremendously transformed itself to being Africa’s Number One Sports Betting Platform. The company has significantly transformed the betting industry in Kenya as well as turning around the gaming industry in just two years.

SportPesa is also the official sponsor of Kenya’s two most popular clubs – Gor Mahia, who are currently the defending champions of the SportPesa Premier League, and AFC Leopards.

Betting Frenzy in Kenya

Kenya has recently experienced an explosion in terms of the gambling companies. Some academicians have already said that Kenya is turning into a nation of gamblers. Most of the gamblers in the country are the young people who are dedicating much of their time and resources to gambling.

Some of the betting companies are;

  • MCheza
  • Sportpesa
  • Betin
  • Betika
  • Elite Bet
  • Betway
  • Kenya Sports Bet
  • Eazi Bet
  • Betpawa Kenya
  • Lotto
  • Pambazuka

The betting industry in Kenya has been said to be the most lucrative business in the country at the moment. This begs the question, how much is the gaming industry in Kenya? According to the statistics that were released by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) last year, the annual gross turnover of sports betting industry in Kenya is $20 million (Sh2.1 billion) with analysts saying that by the year 2018, the gambling industry in Kenya would have hit 30 billion shillings in turn of revenue contribution to the economy.

SportPesa for instance, has over 900,000 registered users on its platform. Out of these more than 900,000 active users, more than 80 percent of them are monthly active users. According to analysts, an active user spends and average of 1000 shillings on betting. Doing some simple calculations, an average of 720,000 users are monthly active users and multiplying the number with the average amount, that is 720,000 multiply it by 1000, brings the total income per month to 720 million shillings. Roughly, SportPesa might be making 720 million shillings per month.

Pambazuka National Lottery was the newest entrant into the Kenyan Market. The company was launched on the 10th of July 2016 in an event that was coloured with pomp and colour. This is a lottery that has been said to be tailored towards the corporate social responsibilities in the country though many quarters have disputed the facts. The lottery has a huge jackpot starting at Kshs 100 million with two mini jackpots of Kshs 10 million each. Participants for the Pambazuka National Lottery can play the lottery through the SportPesa platform or by buying their tickets from Pambazuka vendors across the country. After buying the tickets, the participants then wait for the announcement of the draw to see if they are winners.

Already the young generation has taken over the Pambazuka National Lottery by storm. The lottery gives out a price of 10 million shillings weekly meaning that the amount made per week is more than that. Analysts are predicting that Pambazuka is making between 100 million and 200 million shillings per week due to its shift from the normal gaming industry like football to other SCR activities like hospitals.

Lotto on the other hand has been giving the lucky winners a total prize of 100 million shillings. Lotto has been selling tickets from as low as 50 shillings and already many Kenyans have subscribed into it. It is said that Lotto makes between 100 and 150 million shillings on a daily basis.

Corporate Social Responsibility of Betting Companies in Kenya

Gambling is not new to Kenya; however, the desire to be rich instantly among many Kenyans has been realized with the betting and gambling industry.

From the accessible locations to purchase a ticket, to anyone with a mobile phone, and the allure that comes with the betting advertisement  – in newspapers, radio and even billboards-  a lot has also been written on how many have died due to betting, how one lost his/her money to betting.   

Analysts state that wealth created in the right way comes from many things: hard work, dedication, innovation, meeting the needs of others.  Wealth allows not only the youth to save, retire happy, pay off debts, invest in educational opportunities, start a new business, and to leave funds for future generations.

To the betting and gambling industry, this is a distraction. They have now flipped the concept through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

They are now sponsoring sport activities in Kenya, supporting the health sector and the education sector, filling the gaps where the government has failed the taxpayer thus eliciting a feel good perception among the public in a bid to show them that they are not being robbed.

For instance, SportPesa is sponsoring the Kenya Rugby Union in a 5 year sponsorship in the tune of Kshs 607 Million, to nurture young talent; the company has SportPesa Super 8 Premier League.

SportPesa sponsores Basketball too. On t25th of June 2016, SportPesa held its EFC Basketball tournament which took place at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium. A total of 10 teams took part for the ultimate prize of Kshs. 100,000/=. On Friday 24th June, 2016, Sportpesa together with Ahadi Kenya Trust were in Mang’u Primary School, North Gatundu, for an anti-jigger campaign. The clinic was aimed at cleaning the pupils’ feet, disinfecting them using potassium permanganate, giving each pupil a pair of shoes and slippers and finally feeding them and many other activities.

On the other hand, Pambazuka National Lottery focuses on Healthcare, environment and charitable causes, Sports, Arts and National Heritage.

Lotto Kenya, in its life changing stories, shows how besides betting they have changed the lives of many.

In the long run, as Dave Ramsey says, “Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.”


About Juma Fred

Juma Fredrick is an enthusiastic journalist who believes that journalism has power to change the world either negatively or positively depending on how one uses it. You can reach him on: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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