Things are getting thicker for 27 betting firms in Kenya whose licenses BCLB refused to renew.
In what started like a simple threat from the tough-talking CS for Interior Dr. Fred Matiang’i, has now taken a new route with plans underway to deport officials of some of the betting firms.
In one of the most daring move, the government has directed telecommunications companies; Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom to withdraw paybill numbers for the affected firms.
The move to withdraw paybill numbers means gamblers seeking to place their stakes won’t have the means to that completely delinking the firms from their “customers.”
Some of the betting companies that have been affected include:
SportPesa, Betin, and Betway are the three largest betting firms in Kenya, controlling more than 85 percent of the market.
The government kicked off an onslaught on gambling companies in Kenya after it emerged that they made 200 billion shillings in 2018 but only paid 4 billion shillings in taxes.
The betting sector in Kenya is worth 202 billion shillings and it had been projected to hit 500 billion shillings by the year 20150.
Kenya is the third largest betting market in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria. In Kenya, the government estimates that 76 percent of Kenyan youth are gamblers.
It has also emerged that 100 percent of the betting firms in Kenya are owned by foreigners. Kenyan directors in most of the betting firms own zero shares.
What has shocked many is the inclusion of SportPesa on the list. The betting firm has been considered as a giant and has taken part in numerous sponsoring activities including sponsoring AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia.
Directors of the affected companies have since remained mute but Betin has moved to court to challenge the decision.