The Kenyan government created a stir and cause for concern for betting and gambling brands in the country when they imposed a massive tax hike on operators and bettors in 2021. This meant a renewed clampdown on an industry-government regarded as potentially risky in terms of social responsibility. 

But even despite the clampdown driven by this titanic rise in taxes, the number of betting firms operational in the African country has only continued to grow.   

According to the details of a report published by Kenya’s Betting and Licencing Control Board (BCLB), the number of betting firms in Kenya has increased from 76 to 100. The increase marks a growth of 24 new firms, or 31.5%, showing once again the absolute tenacity of the sports betting industry in the country. 

When Success Creates Clampdowns 

As mentioned before, the government’s decision to increase the taxes imposed on operators and bettors had been the result of concern about the state of betting and gambling in the country. Higher taxes have not been the only result, as the government has also come down heavily on operators with stricter marketing and advertising regulations. 

The hike of the excise duty rate to 7.5% had been only the start. Right now, Kenyan revenue authorities collect Sh7.50 for every Sh100 wagered by bettors. And losing bets aren’t exempt from the new rule. 

The government also collects 20% off the top of all winnings.

But the good news for the local economy is the other side of this coin. According to the BCLB, all betting firms that entered the market since the tax hike are owned by Kenyan nationals.  

Local betting firms that newly entered the market include Zukabet (Muvana Limited), Hollywood Bets, Mofabet (Johannes Swift), Unibet, and Safe Bet. And it’s all led to a massive increase in local revenue. 

A Population at Risk

In 2019, the government had already started to prepare enthusiasts for a change to the country’s typical betting and gambling norms. 

When the country’s Ministry of Interior initially started weighing in on the situation, Minister Fred Matiang’i cited as evidence for concern the claim that around 76% of young Kenyans are active participants in the betting sector. 

This had also been the start of the noise about higher tax rates about to be imposed, which left many wondering about the real reason behind the government’s “concern”.

In Monetary Terms

From a recent report released by leading operating group Safaricom, it has now become clear that betting is currently the Kenya’s second-largest form of revenue income, trailing only consumer-to-business income. 

Betting firms qualify as private entities in Kenya, and as such, aren’t required by law to make their records available to the public. However, despite this, much information can be gleaned about the state of the sector from court cases such as the one involving Pevans East Africa back in 2018. 

During that year alone, Pevans took bets in the amount of a massive Sh149.7 million.  

Kenya clearly remains an attractive country for betting and gambling success.  

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