State of gambling industry in kenya www.businesstoday.co.ke
The best bet is to play at gambling websites that are licensed and regulated in foreign countries. [ Photo / Nairobinews ]

With the use of technology within modern industries rapidly rising, it’s no surprise that online gambling portals are proving to be the most popular way of betting in the modern age.

Given that the gambling world is now more accessible than it’s ever been, many countries have seen the betting landscape change drastically in the last decade.

No country has experienced this change quite as much as Kenya, whose journey has seen a great number of developments on its road to online-based betting…

The growth of Kenyan betting

In 2014, Kenya saw a surge in online betting. This was due to the rise in affordable phone technology, which resulted in a huge growth in gambling popularity in a very short period of time.

Until recently, betkenya.com was the most popular betting destination, being used by 15 million people. However, it was shut down in 2018.

After his re-election the previous year, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta introduced a 20% tax charge on a punter’s winnings in order to garner larger revenue from the popularity of gambling. Following this, Kenyans turned to international online betting companies whose winnings do not require taxation.

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In July 2019, the Kenyan government halted the licences of a number of betting sites, including top betting operators such as Betin, Betway and SportPesa.

Gambling in the rest of Africa

When we think about gambling in Africa, many of us think Nigeria. Why? Because the country is obsessed with soccer, and as a result online sports betting has been booming since 2016 and this is mainly due to the payment systems that have been developed by local technology firms.

When it comes to the legal situation, however, the reality is that most forms of betting and casino gambling in Nigeria are illegal; except skill-based card games, backgammon, the country’s national lottery, and a few licensed casinos.

The best bet for the players is to make sure they play at gambling websites that are licensed and regulated in foreign countries, as Nigerian police have no jurisdiction over these sites as they are not located in Nigeria.

This situation is also very similar to the one in South Africa. According to OnlineCasinosOnline.co.za,one of the top casino review sites in South Africa, the situation regarding the legality of online gambling in the country is in a bit of a grey area, although gambling is very much popular amongst South Africans:

The law governing online gambling in South Africa is a little murky and though in 2011, the government did make clear that online gaming should not be offered to SA citizens, internationally gambling in SA is licensed. The simplest way of understanding the laws about online gaming is to consider where the casino operates from.

“The laws have been put in place to stop any SA-based online casinos from offering their services to SA residents. However, many of the casinos available to players do not operate from within the borders of South Africa.

While the operators of the casinos do take on some risk when it comes to online gaming, players generally don’t and to date, no one from South Africa has been prosecuted for playing at an online casino.

The rise of SportPesa

Founded by Bulgarian businessman GuerassimNikolov in 1991 after moving to Nairobi, SportPesa is a Kenyan betting company that has come to dominate a lot of the online betting playing field in Kenya.

You may recognise the name SportPesa if you’re a football fan, as it has a number of sponsorship deals with a number of large UK clubs – including Everton and Hull.

Along with these deals, SportPesa’s dominance can also be attributed to their digital expertise and a streamlined betting process on phones and other devices.

It has grown to become one of the world’s top betting sites but despite this, the Kenyan Betting Control and Licensing Board have told SportPesa that it would need to reapply for a new license before they continue to operate in Kenya.

Kenya’s love for betting

SportPesa’s case is a perfect example of how Kenya has become a hotbed of betting thanks to the rise of online means – particularly now for more local sites and operators.

According to a 2017 Geopoll, Kenya has the largest number of young people regularly gambling in Sub-Saharan Africa. This led to a widespread claim that Kenya’s population has an addiction to gambling, particularly within the age group of 17-35.

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As well as this demographic being the most likely to use mobile devices, the fact that Kenya’s sheer size has not seen any growth in land-based gambling shops in years means that online betting has allowed those unable to participate before to join in.

On top of this, Kenya has the fastest internet speeds in Africa so it’s no surprise that the population has taken advantage of this benefit to gamble conveniently and safely in their own homes.

Thanks to all of this technological development, Kenya’s betting and casino industry has experienced a great change that’s seen gambling become a more popular pastime for its people.

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