The Growing Sports Betting Scene in Kenya

As far as the African nation of Kenya goes, the online sports betting industry is still in its infancy. Even though Kenyans love betting on sports, there has not been a large number of online bookmakers operating in the country over the years. The main reason behind that is the unclear laws about the legality of online sports betting in Kenya. However, the scene has grown slowly and as many as 20 online sportsbooks operate in Kenya. However, most of these sites are local and aside from a couple of them, they don’t have any tie-ups with some reputed international sports betting brands. In this post, we will be discussing the growing betting scene in Kenya, live betting Kenya, a brief look at the legality of the industry in the country and how Kenyan sports fans can participate in it. We will conclude the article by discussing a study on the impact of sports betting in Kenya.

Sports Betting in Kenya: Important Things to Know

Is Sports Betting Legal in Kenya?

Gambling has been legal in Kenya since 1966. It was legalised when the Act of Parliament Chapter 131 came up with the Betting and Licensing Board. The Betting & Licensing Board oversees 28 brick-and-mortar casinos and bingo parlors, along with 3 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and 1 racebooks. However, the term “online gambling” wasn’t even addressed until the last decade. It started in 2011 when the Betting and Licensing Board agreed to allow Amaya Gaming to operate in Kenya. Since then, Amaya Gaming has gone on to purchase PokerStars, allowing Kenyan online poker players access to the world’s largest poker site.

Aside from a solitary long sportsbook, online sports betting is unregulated in Kenya. About half of Kenya’s 46 million residents have some kind of internet access and that makes up for a large number of potential online betting customers. Overall, Kenya’s online sports betting community is as big as Australia’s. So, there is no shortage of choice for Kenyan bettors. However, making the right choice is the real challenge. The unregulated gaming market requires bettors to pay a lot of attention to safety and security.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe in Kenya?

Yes, as long as you go with the right online sportsbook, online sports betting is quite safe in Kenya. Since 2011, the Betting Control and Licensing Board has licensed legitimate international online gambling operators to accept Kenyan players. However, a lot of online sportsbooks continue to be unregulated, so bettors need to be careful around these unscrupulous operators.

When it comes to online sports betting, safety and security are extremely important. Before you start betting with any online sportsbook, check its international gaming license.

Sportsbooks that cater to bettors in Kenya must be able to offer deposits and payouts in the local currency of Kenyan Shillings. While a Bantu-Swahili speaking customer support system is a bit unrealistic, the English-speaking customer reps need to have the training to converse with native Kenyans gamblers and help them in every way possible. Kenyan sports bettors don’t just want to bet on Kenyan sports. They would want to bet on European football events, NBA, NFL and, World Cups and Olympic games as well.

What are the impacts of the sports betting industry on the people of Kenya?

This study’s dissertation was written by Amani Mwadime. This study was made with the objective to study the impact of the burgeoning sports betting scene in Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to assess the role and impact of technology on sports betting, to look at the consequences of sports depending on vulnerable segments of users, and to look at the role of controls and legislation on sports betting. In order to reach its objectives, the study made use of a descriptive research design that depended on a quantitative research approach. The focus group of the study consisted of sports betting enthusiasts within Nairobi county. In total, it had been estimated that 2 million individuals were engaged in sports betting. Using stratified sampling and Yamane’s formula, a sample size of 100 respondents was selected for inclusion within the study. The accumulated data was analyzed with the help of SPSS and MS Excel worksheets utilizing descriptive statistics of frequency distributions, means and modes. The analysed data was represented in the form of tables and figures. As per the study, most of the people who engaged in sports betting from Nairobi county, tended to be males between the ages of 21 and 40. In addition, the most important source of income for sports bettors was salary, indicating that employed individuals were at a better probability of engaging in sports betting than entrepreneurs and unemployed individuals. Most sports bets were placed using the bookmaker’s website, generally once every week. Sportpesa was the dominant brand in sports betting. Mobile money was also found to be a great enabler of sports betting across Nairobi. The seamless integration of mobile money wallets and sports betting platforms, reliability, consistency, simple use and simple access to mobile money was a serious enabler of sports betting. The biggest benefit of mobile money is the high level of privacy. Social media also went a long way in positively impacting Nairobi’s sports betting scene. The majority of people engaging in sports betting looked for information and made decisions on the way to bet based on the information they could find on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. The majority of bettors were aware that sports betting was a sort of gambling. In addition, they seemed to be on top of their betting actions and thus continued to bet. Further, the study found that the majority of people engaging in sports betting were conscious of the risks posed by sports betting. As per most bettors, they didn’t think that the Government was taking any step to control or regulate the adverse effects of sports betting. The government was disinterested in managing the protection policies of people engaging in sports betting and didn’t control the exposure, advertisement and promotion of sports betting. The Government of Kenya has mainly been interested in just maximizing its revenue stream by taxing sports betting firms.  This study concluded that mobile money has had an enormous effect on sports betting in Kenya. The relationship between mobile money and sports betting is enhanced thanks to the convenience of access to mobile money, the value effectiveness and efficiency of mobile money, transparency, consistency, reliability and privacy of mobile money wallets. In addition, the study concludes that social media is the largest and the most vital source of data for sports betting. The study also found out that social media sites helped contribute a large number of new customers to the world of sports betting. Most of the dedicated sports bettors in Kenya are men between the ages of 21 and 40.  Finally, the study concludes that the government has not taken any steps to scale back the exposure of sports betting information and solicitation to vulnerable groups. The study recommended that first sports betting companies can leverage on the attributes of privacy, efficiency, effectiveness and security of mobile money wallets to plug their products and services. This study also recommended targeted mass education directed at males (since they make up the majority of the sports betting community in Kenya). It is recommended for sports betting companies to line up dedicated social media accounts that help with the efficient and effective distribution of data to the sports bettors in Kenya. In conclusion, this study also recommended that the Government of Kenya needed to formulate and implement a policy to guide the advertisement and promotion of betting activity in the country and prevent underage kids from getting exposed to it since people of that age group have the highest propensity to getting addicted to gambling.






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