The giant Kenyan betting company accused the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) of employing a series of abrupt measures that are aimed at discouraging and disrupting business.
“SportPesa is extremely disappointed by the recent malicious actions by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) to block our payments systems despite the existence of a court order,” read a statement from the firm.
“The prejudicial process that has been followed by the regulator has the potential to drive the industry underground as well as have far reaching repercussions on the social and economic agenda of the country.”
The company maintained that it has been fully compliant with all tax and legal requirements in Kenya.
It added that it has consistently boosted sports development in the country alongside community development.
The company promised that the issue would be resolved soon.
“We wish to assure our customers and stakeholders that we are challenging these actions and remain in contact with key stakeholders with the aim of resolving this matter soon.
SportPesa’s statement comes hours after Safaricom adhered to a government directive to suspend a pay bill number allocated to 27 betting companies.
On Friday, Safaricom advised users who tried to load money onto the SportPesa number pay bill number 955700 to contact their betting companies.
“Failed. Dear Customer, this Paybill is unavailable due to the Government directive to suspend Betting Paybill numbers. Kindly contact your Betting Company,” read a response from Safaricom.
LICENSE NOT RENEWED
BCLB has ordered telcos to suspend paybills and SMS short codes for 27 betting firms including SportPesa and Betin because the operating licence for the year starting July 1 were not renewed.
The gambling regulator says the 27 firms are yet to meet undisclosed licensing requirements and are being vetted to establish if they are fit to hold gambling permits.
Safaricom had hesitated implementing the orders, which affects 12 million betting accounts, saying some of the accounts have money and some firms like SportPesa and Betin have secured orders to continue operating.