Tag Archives: online gambling

Sports Betting – Part IV: Gambling Companies Protest Kenya tax

Today brought some shocking news that, following the passage into law of the 2017 Kenya Finance Bill, in which the President had amended an increase in the tax on gambling to 35% tax, in place of an earlier 50% one proposed at Parliament, Sportpesa, the apparent industry leader of sports betting and gambling would be ending all its local sponsorships.

Sportpesa has a sizeable local sports sponsorship portfolio, supporting several local sports ventures; In rugby (the Kenya Rugby Union, Kenya Harlequins), and in soccer (Kenya’s premier league, a Super 8 tournament, Football Kenya company, as well as individual teams of Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Football Kenya, Nakuru All Stars).

Sportpesa started operating in Tanzania just two months ago, but recently hosted a soccer tournament in Tanzania featuring top Kenyan and Tanzania teams, which was won by Gor Mahia, earning them a pre-season match with Everton, the English premier league team, on July 13 in Dar-es-Salaam.

The strong-arm tactics of Sportpesa look similar to ones tried by Kenyan banks before the President went ahead and signed an interest capping bill into law that the banks had strongly opposed. The effects they warned about now seem to becoming true with reduced lending to businesses, and liquidity in the economy.

The sports betting and gambling companies push back also comes at a time when Kenyan sports face myriad issues like doping allegations, an ineffectual sports minister and fatigue and funding cutbacks by other large sports sponsors including Multichoice (DStv), EABL, KCB and Safaricom over management issues with different sports associations and teams. While gambling companies like Sportpesa had stepped up, the sports’ funding sources now appear in limbo.

Sports Betting Comes of Age in Kenya – Part III

SportPesa Goes Global

Today brought the shock news that SportPesa would be sponsoring Hull City, a team playing in the English premier league, in what officials called the most lucrative in the Club’s proud 112-year history.

Pic from SportPesa twitter page

Pic from SportPesa twitter page

SportPesa bills itself as Africa’s number one sports betting platform and has signed several deals in the last year in Kenya including sponsoring two top teams – Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards , the top soccer league, and (just last week)  added another sponsorship to the Kenya Rugby Union for Kshs 607 million (~$6 million) over five years.

The FT notes of the deal that:  “..highligh(s) both the global popularity of the English Premier League and the exponential rise of mobile gambling across east Africa’s largest economy.. the SportPesa platform will now be available in the United Kingdom and later in the year present in several African countries..”

Read more on SportPesa and other online sports betting firms in Kenya.

EDIT:  two days later, another EPL team, Southampton FC announced that SportPesa  would be their official betting partner in a multi-million pound three-year deal.

EDIT:  In a newspaper statement, on July 31, Sportpesa said that the Hull sponsorship is £3 million per year, which is based on revenue projections from international business.

£1 = Kshs 133, $1 = Kshs 101