Betting Firms in Trouble After New Order on Canceled Licenses

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The betting industry in Kenya is on fire as the government is hitting betting companies hard where it hurts the most. For the better part of the economy, this multi-billion industry has been a key contributor to generating revenues and creating employment opportunities for jobless youths.

In an official letter to Telecommunications companies Safaricom PLC, Airtel and Telkom, the Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director Liti Wambua, has ordered the withdrawal of pay bill numbers and SMS code for 27 betting firms whose licenses have failed to meet the outstanding renewal requirements.

“We wish to inform you that the licenses for the following betting firms were not renewed until they meet the outstanding renewal requirements as well as the outcome of ongoing due diligence to determine if they are fit and proper to hold a license from this board. Consequently, we request you to suspend their pay bills and shortcodes until otherwise advised,” the letter dated July 10, 2019 reads

Stakeholders meeting between Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and representatives of the betting firms in April saw all betting licenses in the country suspended and had to seek fresh application by July 1, 2019. This move was incited by a probe by a multi-agency team constituted to investigate the licenses of all betting and gaming companies in the country, which discovered that the betting companies made a cumulative amount of Ksh.204 billion last year but paid only Ksh.4 billion in taxes.

Among the betting firms whose licenses have since been cancelled include, SportPesa, Betin, Betway, Betpawa, Elitebet, PremierBet, Lucky2u, 1xBet, MozzartBet, Dafabet, World Sports Betting, Atari Gaming, Palms Bet and Betboss. Others are Kick-Off, Atari, Millionaire Sports Bet, Palmsbet, Chezacash, Betyetu, Bungabet, Cysabet, Saharabet, Easibet, Easleighbet, Sportybet and AGB Lottery & Gaming.

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