Gamblers in Kenya are risking running out of sports betting sites after the government ordered Telecommunication companies operating in Kenya, Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom to withdraw pay bill numbers and SMS codes used by 27 betting companies in Kenya which include the giant Sport Pesa and Betin betting companies.
This came after it was revealed that the 27 betting firms currently operating in Kenya had not renewed their licenses. The interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had earlier on warned the companies that they risk losing if they do not renew their licenses or pay the government Taxes.
Government’s directive came after the firms failed to meet the deadline set by the government. All betting companies were supposed to renew their operating licenses by July 1.
The deadline was set after it was realized that the companies were reluctant in complying with the government’s directive to have all the betting firms remit their taxes. According to the government, the betting industry made more than 200 billion shillings but only remitted 4 billion shillings as taxes.
TAX MATTERS: The government has now directed mobile money service providers; Safaricom, Airtel and Telcom Kenya to withdraw pay bill numbers and SMS codes of 27 betting companies among them SportPesa, Betin and Betway.#KenyanBusinessFeed 1/2 pic.twitter.com/VPyvYGjCCZ
— Kenyan Business Feed (@KenyanBizFeed) July 10, 2019
Among the conditions that all the betting firms must meet before having their licenses renewed is to be tax-compliant. SportPesa, Betin and Betway control at least 85 percent of the betting market in Kenya.
They were also expected to prove that they had been operating within the law, and prove that they are sufficiently liquid and have performed financially well for the past four years.
Besides SportPesa and Betin, other companies which have been told to fulfill certain conditions in order to be allowed to operate include; Betway, Betpawa, Premierbet, Lucky 2 U, 1X Bet, Mozzartbet, Dafa bet, World Sport Bet, Atari Gaming, Palmsbet and Betboss.
Other small companies on the list include; Betyetu, Bungabet, Cysabet, Elitebet, Nestbet, Easybet, Millionaire Sports Bet, Kick Off, Kenya Sports Bet and Eastleighbet.
Kenya’s betting industry is estimated at 200 billion shillings with the government estimating that 76 percent of Kenyan youth are gamblers. This has significantly affected the growth and economy of the country since most of them have become idle, just betting and hoping to win.
As a result of this, Kenya was recently ranked sixth in Africa as the most depressed nation with the government attributing this ranking to gambling that is running out of control among many.