Government closes all betting sites in the country

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Administration police officers display Chinese betting machines at Kisii police station. [Photo/ standardmedia.co.ke]

At least 19 betting companies, 13 casinos and six lotteries now risk closure after the team constituted to review their licenses failed to green-light their operations in the country.

This comes a little over a month after the constitution of a multi-agency team to probe the licenses of all betting and gaming companies in the country.

All betting licenses in the country stood suspended and fresh application sought by July 1, 2019 following a stakeholders meeting between Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and representatives of the firms in April.

The firms are said to have failed to prove that they were tax compliant as required by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

After a review by Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) during the vetting is that the companies made a cumulative amount of Ksh.204 billion last year but paid only Ksh.4 billion in taxes.

The government has now 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.

The firms whose licenses have since been canceled include, SportPesa, Betin, Betway, Betpawa, PremierBet, Lucky2u, 1xBet, MozzartBet, Dafabet, World Sports Betting, Atari Gaming, Palms Bet and Betboss among others.

The companies; including SportPesa, Betin and Betway, also risk having their senior non-Kenyan managers deported in the crackdown.

However, Betting firm Betin has now gone to court seeking to have back its license.
All gamblers have been given 48 hours to withdraw all their money from their betting wallets or lose it.

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