[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ports betting has taken the entire African continent by storm, especially Kenya.

A good number of bookmakers are setting up shop in the African nation, hoping to bag a share of the huge betting business provided by gamblers who continue fuelling the betting industry in the country. All such betting firms have been growing at a very rapid pace despite incidents like this.

With more and more betting shops becoming operational in the country, several reputed online bookmakers have also started offering Kenya specific betting services, for instance, the Betway Kenya sports betting portal.

Betway even introduced free betting with Airtel in the country.

Societal and economy-related factors

The popularity of sports betting in Kenya can be attributed to the structuring of the Kenyan society, as well as the current state of the country’s economy.

Traditionally it’s been mainly young men who’ve been fuelling this industry. With more and more of them getting impacted by the smartphone revolution and online betting services, the sports betting has been on the rise overall in the country.

The current state of Kenyan economy is also responsible for the boom in the sports betting industry. The country has a significant percentage of youth population, which is unable to find employment, forcing many of them into sports betting. They indulge in it to somehow sustain themselves (and their families). In fact gambling has become the main earning medium for them.

Technological factors

Although it’s not incorrect to hold Kenya’s economy responsible for the surge in sports betting industry (of the country), all of it wouldn’t have been possible without the technological advancements over the past decade.

Technology has played a significant role in making Kenya one of the top African countries in terms of sports betting revenues.

Kenya is among a handful of African countries that have witnessed a great boom in the telecom industry as well. Many major telecom companies have invested in the country, making it able enough and stand apart from its other African counterparts, particularly with regard to its Internet connectivity.

The country witnessed a boom in the online sports betting operations around 2012, a few years post the introduction of mobile technology. Although sports bettors didn’t use to bet on their mobile devices, they would instead punt on different portals using their home computers connected to the Internet, or through Internet cafés (that sprung up in huge numbers all over the country).

It wasn’t until the start of 2015 that the actual impact of smart phones started being felt in the Kenyan sports betting industry. Even though a large majority of Kenyans couldn’t afford branded smartphones, they chose to invest into unpopular brands which were equally effective. The smartphone market experienced a huge surge, reaching the point where every 3/5 people had a smart phone with them.

The boost in the smartphone industry and the subsequent introduction of mobile payment services like M-Pesa contributed majorly to the rise of online sports betting in the country. It meant that anyone could place bets on the Internet using his/her mobile device, even if he/she didn’t have a Visa, MasterCard or a bank account. This completely changed things in the country’s sports betting industry.


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