The Rise of Sports Betting in Kenya

Betway sports.
Betway sports.

Sports betting is taking Africa by a storm, speedily replacing old casinos.

In Kenya, many factors played in favour of this new venture, which has experienced a more than 300% growth rate in the last five years. Dozens of local and big-name international companies like Betway are capitalising on the newfound goldmine with the country’s youthful population trying to make ends meet while gambling their life away.

Well, several reasons have made the Kenyan gambling market, such a ripened target to investors. Read on to find out why.

Mobile money

Today, Kenya boasts of some of the most innovative offline mobile money transfer technologies such as Mpesa, T-Kash and Airtel Money. Mobile telecommunication providers provide these game-changing services that have revolutionised the means through which people send and receive funds both locally and internationally.

Bookmakers quickly integrated these options on their platforms hence accessing the customers who don’t have internet connection or smartphones. Bets can be placed offline via short message services, SMS. Betway customers can download the Betway Kenya app on their smartphone for easy access to the site.

Fast internet connection

Network providers have played a significant role in the growth of sports betting in Kenya.

Apart from easy money transfers, they also provide fast and reliable internet connectivity, even in the countryside.

Punters could now follow sports news and place real-time bets on their favourite betting sites. With this, online sports betting tapped into the industry, drawing a Ksh 3.1 billion between 2017/18.

Aggressive Marketing Strategies

The Kenyan gambling sector is less regulated, and gambling firms have the freedom to use all marketing strategies available to them.

These strategies include social media advertisement, enticements such as signups bonuses free deposits, first free bets and free tips.

Such strategies have lured many unsuspecting bettors with a promise of quick cash.

A youthful population

Eighty per cent of the Kenyan population is made of youths. Many of them unschooled and unemployed.

Sports betting provide a gleam of hope for a better future with a majority of youths engaging in gambling as a means of survival rather than for recreational purposes. These tendencies have prompted the government to introduce punitive tax measures on gambling firms and punters.

A survey indicates that 2 in every five Kenyan youths engage in online sports gambling.

Many have blamed the lower age limit of 18 years for gamblers and call for a raise to 21 years.

Cultural sports perception

Kenya is a sporting nation famed for its seasoned long distanced athletes. As such, society embraces all forms of sports within its culture. Therefore, a larger part of society believes that betting is an extension of sports. This creates a flourishing environment for the gambling Industry.

Betway is one of the leading bookmakers in Kenya, and by extension, the African continent. It provides betting opportunities for hundreds of sporting activities from around the world, including the local Kenyan Premier League.

Flexible regulations

The Kenyan Gambling and licensing board has some of the friendliest regulations in the world. Despite the introduction of betting taxes on winnings, the Kenyan betting laws still favour many companies with little to no rules on marketing strategies involved.

It is easier for bookmakers to obtain a licence and wade into the market without a lot of restrictions. However, the Kenyan government is working on developing a consumer-friendly gambling industry which might include introducing more punitive regulations on bookmakers and punters.


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