Betting in Kenya: Millions of sports’ gamblers in Kenya have been given 48 hours to withdraw their money from the accounts of betting firms. This is the latest act in a series of moves by the government aimed at taming betting in Kenya.
This has been revealed in a report that appeared in the Daily Nation of Friday.
“This is to permit you to allow gamers of the subject firms to withdraw any funds they may have deposited in the material period within forty-eight hours from the date hereof and duly notify them of the same, quoting this letter as authority,” read communication to a local telco from Liti Wambua, the board’s acting director, in a letter dated July 11, 2019.
The Daily Nation also established that the firms, which have been listed for closure, will also suffer a crackdown in the banking industry.
“The Nation has learned that commercial banks have also been asked to follow through with the crackdown that will make it hard for betting firms to get their billions of shillings out of the country,” the newspaper reported.
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Earlier in the week, the government directed mobile money service providers; Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya to withdraw pay bill numbers and SMS codes of 27 betting companies among them SportPesa, Betin and Betway.
In a letter to the telcos, Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director Liti Wambua, said the licenses of the 27 firms remain withdrawn, hence, their payment platforms should also be suspended.
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“We wish to inform you that the licenses for the following betting firms were not renewed until they meet the outstanding renewal requirements as well as outcome of ongoing due diligence to determine if they are fit and proper to hold a license from this board.
“Consequently, we request you to suspend these betting companies’ paybill numbers and short codes until otherwise advised,” reads the letter dated July 10, 2019.
The affected firms are said to have failed to prove that they were tax compliant as required by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).
This was apparently discovered after a probe by a multi-agency team constituted to probe the licenses of all betting and gaming companies in the country. A report from the multi-agency team indicated that the companies made a cumulative amount of Ksh.204 billion last year but paid only Ksh.4 billion in taxes.
The firms whose licenses have since been canceled include, SportPesa, Betin, Betway, Betpawa, Elitebet, PremierBet, Lucky2u, 1xBet, MozzartBet, Dafabet, World Sports Betting, Atari Gaming, Palms Bet and Betboss.
Others are Kick-Off, Atari, Millionaire Sports Bet, Palmsbet, Chezacash, Betyetu, Bungabet, Cysabet, Saharabet, Easibet, Easleighbet, Sportybet and AGB Lottery & Gaming.