Majority of betting companies in Kenya find themselves in trouble as the internal security minister Mr. Fred Matiangi vows to tame gambling in the country. According to the minister, gambling is one of the major vices resulting in depression amongst the youth. Is betting being banned in Kenya? Actually, the revocation of the licenses from most of the betting sites in the country including the top two betting sites; betin Kenya and SportPesa is a normal regulatory action by the betting and lotteries control board. Betting is a huge source of income for many countries in the form of taxes but this hasn’t been the case for Kenya according to the Taxes department. The core reason behind the mass license revoking is taxes; the government claims to be getting only Ksh.4 billion annually from the over Ksh.200 billion industry. However, the tax issue has been objected by over 90% of the betting sites as they claim to have complied fully and they are blaming the government of intentionally making the betting industry environment harsh and unfriendly.

The fast-growing and well-rated bookmaker in the country is 1xBet Kenya; this betting site already has their license in the vetting process together with other betting sites of similar caliber; Sportybet, betin, SportPesa etc… Be sure to deposit at 1xBet Kenya using Airtel money, Mybux or even Eazzypay (For eaquitel line telecommunication service holders). For withdrawal transaction you can rely on; PayPal, mPesa, bank cards, Airtel money, and Mybux as well.

Who gets affected by the license revocation

Basically out of the seven betting sites licensed to operate in Kenya after the mass crackdown initialized on July 1 2019, only one popular betting site was verified; mCheza Kenya. The popularity is garnered through the quality of services availed by the particular bookmaker. Consequently, the first individuals to be affected are the gamblers. Notably from social media platforms of the operational betting sites at the moment, most feedbacks cited the poor services by these betting sites as they refer them to emulate the big betting companies (Whose licenses are yet to be viable); likes of SportPesa, Betin Kenya, 1xBet Kenya, Sportybet, Betway, et cetera. Considering that most of the Kenyan youths are unemployed and some had turned to gamble as their only occupation, ban of the big betting companies in Kenya would mean that there will be no consistent and trustworthy bookmaker to invest in.

The second group adversely affected by the closure of betting sites in Kenya is the Telcos companies. Mobile service providers will incur a great loss of revenue as almost the entire betting process relied on the use of mobile money transfer in depositing and withdrawing cash. The government issued a directorate for all telecommunication company offering shortcodes to the unlicensed betting site to stop. The biggest telecommunication company in Kenya Safaricom even attempted to negotiate for leniency from the state. They cited that their clients had banked quite a big amount of cash in the betting platforms and closing them down would deny them the right to access their money which is against the law. This prompted the government to give all Kenyans 48 hours to complete any of their pending transactions with the betting sites yet to be censored. If the ban on the major betting sites in Kenya persists, telecommunications companies (precisely Safaricom mPesa and Airtel money) providing access to these wallets will not get the millions they were earning from the betting industry of Kenya.

Finally, the crackdown will be heavily felt and at the hearts of the betting companies. The betting companies are already witnessing unimaginable losses and loss of popularity. Some have even signaled their closure if the ensuing standoff between the government and them persists; SportPesa CEO termed the crackdown unfavorable and not well considered on the government’s side. Most of the closed out claim to have been highly transparent on the tax issues and therefore the government may be under a different agenda when closing down their businesses.

Below is a list of the big betting sites in Kenya yet to get their licenses renewed:

  1. SportPesa Kenya (The leading bookie)

  2. Betin Kenya

  3. 1xBet Kenya

  4. SportyBet Kenya

  5. BetWay Kenya

  6. Premierbet Kenya

  7. Elitebet

  8. Lucky2u

  9. Betboss

  10. Saharabet

  11. Betyetu

  12. Kick-off

  13. Eastleighbet

  14. Kenya Sports Bet

  15. Cheza Cash

  16. Atari gaming

  17. Mozzartbet

  18. Dafabet

  19. Easibet

  20. AGB lottery and gaming

  21. CysaBet

  22. BetPawa

  23. World sports bet

  24. Millionaire sports bet

  25. Bungabet

  26. Palms bet

  27. Nestbet

Why the government closed most betting sites in Kenya

The licenses of the most betting sites in Kenya were revoked due to a number of factors:

  1. Malicious issues associated with their tax compliance

  2. Move by the government to reduce the intense betting culture amongst the Kenyan youths

  3. Money laundering to betting platforms claims, as this license revocation issue comes a few days after the state unveiled a new currency.


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