NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – As much as Sh1,550 per month is spent by Kenyans aged between 18 to 29 on betting, a survey by Ipsos Kenya and GeoPoll has found.
The survey also finds that most bettors, at 83 percent, have an average household income of Sh70,000, while only 1 percent of bettors earn over Sh515,000.
Self-employed individuals were found to be the most likely to place bets at 33 percent, followed by the unemployed at 28 percent.
According to the survey, most bettors are self-employed at 33 percent, followed by the unemployed at 28 percent.
Employed individuals and students rank third and fourth at 20 percent and 18 percent respectively.
The survey comes at a time when the government has suspended mobile cash deposits of betting companies, including market leaders Sportpesa and Betin.
The government accused the firms of failing to pay taxes and violating several other regulations.
“73 percent of Kenyans that are aware of the suspension are bettors. Additionally, most bettors are unhappy about the suspension with close to 1 out of 5 saying they will not watch major football tournaments as a result,” says the survey.
Already, the government has deported 17 directors of gambling companies mainly from Eastern Europe who are accused of violating their work permits.
Sportpesa has moved to court to sue the government for switching off its pay bills and short codes, saying it is seeking compensation for money lost since the suspension started.
The firm, and its rival Betin Kenya say the July 12 switch-off of its M-Pesa pay bills and SMS short codes are illegal because they both have court orders allowing them to continue operating despite being denied licences by the State.
“We are in no doubt that these actions, if not carefully and quickly considered, will serve to drive out companies such as us who are good corporate citizens and instead the gaming industry will go underground, increasing the spread of illegal and underage participation, money laundering, criminality and unregulated off-shore operators claiming the market,” Betin said in response to the suspension.