Is the government targeting some betting firms without following the due process of finding out as to whether the firms have abided by the laid down rules?
Is the onslaught by the government against betting firms a calculated move to pave way for other new players and not “about the consumer” as government claims?
The government, through the Ministry of Interior and the Betting Control and Licensing Board, made real its threat to “shape” the betting sector in the country by suspending licenses for 27 firms.
The firms whose licenses were suspended include the giant betting company, SportPesa, a key player in Kenya’s sporting activities in terms of sponsorships and support.
“We are tax compliant and we will work with key stakeholders to ensure everything is back to normal,” Said Mr. Ronald Karauri, the CEO of SportPesa.
The government ordered telecommunications companies to suspend the paybill numbers to the affected firms. This meant those looking to place bets would not do so. The paybill number for SportPesa was suspended on Friday at 10 AM.
“I believe this is due to a misunderstanding and I also believe that all these issues can be resolved by dialogue and we are currently engaging all key stakeholders to ensure that everything is back to normal,” added Mr. Karauri.
SportPesa has 400 employees and has been sponsoring Kenya’s AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia. For the first time, the company made it possible for Everton to visit Kenya to play with Kenya’s Kariobangi Sharks.
— SportPesa Care (@SportPesa_Care) July 13, 2019
— SportPesa (@SportPesa) July 13, 2019
“To be honest, SportPesa has done more to our sporting sector than the government. Imagine the sponsorships? The supporting of talents and sometimes taking part in the renovation of stadiums. The government should rethink its decision,” said one of the players in the sector and who did not to be mentioned because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
Let Us Be Realistic
The government is making it look like sports betting is the worst evil that has to be fought by all means necessary. According to the government, 76 percent of Kenyan youth are gamblers but what the government is not telling Kenyans is why the youth are gambling in the first place.
The Kenyan youth is betting because he or she has no job. The employment rate is at 43.5 percent, which the government does not want to admit. The absorption rate in the job market is less than 3 percent and the Kenyan youth has basically been left alone. Betting has helped thousands of them.
The government says the reason why 500,000 Kenyan youth are at the CRB is because of betting. That is a lie. The 500,000 Kenyans who owe less than 200 shillings on the CRB list have been blacklisted courtesy of online mobile loan apps. Betting firms do not blacklist anyone at the CRB. In fact, IEA found out that there was no relationship between an increase in uptake of mobile loans and betting.
Gambling dates back to the Paleolithic period, before written history. In Mesopotamia the earliest six-sided dice date to about 3000 BC. They were based on astragali dating back thousands of years earlier.
This issue is as old as humanity. To deal with it, remove emotions.
— SokoAnalyst (@SokoAnalyst) July 12, 2019
I don’t think the government is trying to control betting. It is jealous. The government wanted a big piece of the 200-billion shilling sector. Politicians wanted shares in the companies too. Companies like #sportpesa refused and they just had to go! It is not about the people!
— juma G. 🇰🇪 (@jumaf3) July 12, 2019