SportPesa Continues British Expansion
Nairobi-based sports betting giant SportPesa is continuing with its efforts to expand into the British market. A big part of this drive is the sponsorship of various United Kingdom sports teams, which the company started doing in 2016.
To date, the online bookmaker has seen its name splashed across various Premier League, Formula One, Football, Rugby and Horse Racing teams. Importantly, this branding is always associated with good works in Africa. The latest such partnership is with Everton, a Premier League Football club whose home ground is Goodison Park.
A Collaboration Benefiting Everyone
SportPesa is now Everton’s main sponsor, and its name is all over Goodison Park. The Toffees have been in Kenya playing a pre-season tour, and are avid promoters of the SportPesa Kits for Africa initiative – a donation bin stands in the club’s official store.
Doing work that brings the benefits of sports to underprivileged sectors of society, or that uplifts a community in general, is usually as respected as it is important. Not only do those who are targeted by SportPesa’s campaigns benefit, but so do the bookmaker and the athletes that are involved. Seeing the efforts that the betting site and teams are making will only strengthen the goodwill of fans and prospective bettors.
Everton Chief Executive Officer Denise Barret-Baxendale has explained that the club values its burgeoning relationship with SportPesa, saying that the operator has a “strong alignment” with The Toffees’ values. Everton’s extensive community work in the deprived areas that surround Goodison Park were pioneered by Barret-Baxendale herself, so such values are very close to her heart.
A Kenyan-Bulgarian Partnership
SportPesa was launched in 2014 as a partnership of Bulgarian investors and wealthy, politically connected Kenyan citizens. Now a massively profitable company in the east African country, SportPesa is looking further afield to the United Kingdom and beyond.
Through legal use of the so-called “white label” system, the bookmaker is able to conduct its business through TGP Europe, which is registered in the tax haven Isle of Man. This means no taxes or responsible gambling support funds are due, which can appear a little underhanded. Friendships between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and top SportPesa executives could also potentially raise suspicions.
Strict Kenyan Regulations
Kenyan authorities have recently been putting in various measures to try and control the country’s exploding online gambling industry. The goal is not only to generate more revenue through proper taxation, but also to ensure safe gaming environments, prevent underage gambling, and support individuals who struggle with problem gambling behaviours.
The government takes this regulation very seriously; Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i recently said that without it Kenya’s “moral fabric” would be destroyed. As part of these efforts they recently suspended several gambling firms who did not comply with the legislation – one of which, interestingly, was SportPesa.
SportPesa is Still Trusted
Although SportPesa’s financial details are slightly murky, it’s important to note that it’s not unusual for a private company not to disclose such information. Affiliated sports teams performed due diligence on the firm, and shareholders point out that it has passed regulatory checks in some of the world’s most rigorous jurisdictions. The good works they have done also suggest a trustworthy company. As the dust settles on Kenya’s new gambling company regulations, SportPesa remains a popular firm.