Often referred to as the “cradle of humanity” for the earliest evidence of man’s ancestors, Kenya is famous around the world for its incredible marathon runners and rapid economic growth. Kenya is also one of the African countries with ambitious technological innovations with M-Pesa being the most notable example. This combination of top athletes – like Victor Wanyama playing in the Premier League for Tottenham – and technology inclination makes the country ideal for online sports betting. The best betting sites in Kenya are already enjoying a lot of activity and the market is in full bloom.
With the internet becoming widely available, the number of Kenyans engaged in betting has grown considerably in recent years. Furthermore, gambling laws are permissive in the region which quickly translated into a lot of international betting sites in Kenya boosting their activity. The Betting and Licensing Control Board is the regulatory body supervising betting in the region and the betting environment in Kenya is dynamic, to say the least, with the number of new betting sites in Kenya growing each month.
The first gambling law in the country was passed in 1966 and, believe it or not, it’s still in place today. Of course, it suffered a series of amendments along the way, all of them maintaining the status of legal betting sites in Kenya. However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that the authorities proposed to change the betting law altogether. The most notable amendment to the 1966 law that influenced active betting sites in Kenya, came in 2016 with the introduction of the Betting and Licensing Control Board as the regulatory body to supervise betting and issue licenses. And since the conditions and costs for applying for a license were very advantageous – KES3m license fee – the number of top betting sites in Kenya increased rapidly overnight.
Seeing just how appealing the market is for bookmakers with the list of betting sites in Kenya getting bigger and bigger from one month to another, the authorities decided to make several other amendments to the taxation levels. First they increased taxes from 10% to 20% on the profit a bookie was making. Then, more recently, the authorities decided to change the interpretation of the 20% tax and apply it to gross gaming revenue instead for all betting sites in Kenya. Operators were forced to pay back substantial amounts of money and 19 of them got their licenses suspended until they paid. Betway and SportPesa are the most notable names involved in this episode.
The assault on online sports betting is not yet over in Kenya as in May a new bill was revealed with the intent to replace the 1966 Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act. If enacted, this new bill proposes replacing the current regulatory body with the National Gaming Authority, as well as a Gaming Appeals Tribunal.
Furthermore, online bookmakers would be forced to have a physical presence in the country and also keep their servers in Kenya as well. The costs also change as the fee for a license will rise to KES 100m for a three-year license, with a KES 30m renewal fee. The Gaming Bill also seeks to prohibit the use of mobile phones for betting if M-Pesa is the deposit method of choice. Operators who allow deposits with this payment method from a mobile face fines of up to KES 50m (US$50k).
Most punters are simply looking for betting sites in Kenya with bonus offers to boost their initial deposit. And while that’s a very good criteria to select bookmakers, there are other things you should consider when looking at working betting sites in Kenya. Being able to bet on high odds is vital for how much profit you’re making in the long run, while quick payouts and plenty of pre-match and live football, tennis and basketball bets are important too.
Betting sites with free bets in Kenya are especially popular and the ones that go the extra mile with localization are also widely appreciated. Delivering customer support and the website translated in Bantu, or supporting the Kenyan Shilling currency are all signs of a good bookmaker. Lastly, but not at all less-important, a reliable mobile platform is mandatory since Kenya is Africa’s leading country in smartphone usage.
There are no active measures taken by the authorities to prevent players from accessing betting sites with bonus in Kenya that don’t have a license. This means punters are free to choose between the licensed bookies or the international betting sites in Kenya that have not applied for a license. Actually, some of the most popular football betting sites in Kenya operate without a license and that also allows them to deliver more appealing bonuses. As long as these bookies are licensed by solid, trustworthy regulatory bodies like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority, there’s nothing to be worried about if the website is not licensed locally.
With no restrictions on payment options, punters can use to top-up their accounts at sports betting sites in Kenya, everyone is free to decide on the payment method. Despite the new Gambling Bill talking about preventing deposits through M-Pesa, until the authorities take the final decision about passing the bill or not, everything is up for grabs. The latest betting sites in Kenya are pushing on Airtel and M-Pesa, since they’re the main local deposit options. However, Kenyans can also use credit and debit cards or ewallets to enjoy free betting sites in Kenya. The local payment methods are preferred since they allow punters to deposit directly in KES, while international ewallets would also require currency exchange.
Kenyan punters can enjoy the services of the world’s leading betting exchange. Even though Betfair did not apply for a local license, it can be accessed from within the country and is also one of the best football betting sites in Kenya. Other exchanges like Smarkets or Betdaq are also available and in case you’re having trouble accessing them directly, a VPN will always do the trick. Keep in mind that when using a VPN, you will need an ewallet to be able to deposit at betting sites in Kenya with registration bonus and some of them don’t issue this bonus when punters deposit with Skrill or Neteller.
For the time being, while the Betting and Licensing Control Board is still in charge of all betting activities in the country, they are the ones to contact in case you have a complaint about any betting sites still working in Kenya. If you’re enjoying the services of international bookmakers, contact their licensing authority directly – MGA, UKGC, etc. Remember, we’re also here to help in case you need assistance with any of the bookies on our list of all betting sites in Kenya.