Why Other African Nations Should Emulate Kenya’s Gambling Policies

Why Other African Nations Should Emulate Kenya’s Gambling Policies

Since the turn of the century, sports betting has experienced astronomical growth in sub-Saharan Africa, with the sector becoming a multimillion-dollar industry. Many countries in the region have witnessed a gambling explosion, with South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria leading the way in terms of largest markets in the sub-region. Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia are not too far behind.

The rise in sports betting activities in these countries have naturally attracted an influx of betting operators from all over the world. The region is seen as one of the biggest emerging markets, with potential to generate even more revenue in the nearest future.

Unfortunately, many of these countries in sub-Saharan Africa have been somewhat overwhelmed by the rapid growth of the gambling sector, and have found it difficult to manage the situation.

Yes, there are laws in place to regulate the gambling industry, but some of these laws are archaic and ineffective. A major problem of sports betting in Africa is the lack of clarity on online betting.

Many foreign betting companies have taken advantage of this loophole to render online betting services to citizens of these countries despite not having the legal backing to do so.

Hence, unsuspecting citizens are exposed to the dangers of unregulated betting sites, while the government misses out on valuable revenue.

One country that has gained a certain degree of control over its betting space is Kenya. The Kenyan system is not perfect, but compared to other nations in and around the East African country, they have made a very deliberate attempt to keep their betting industry under control.

Kenya has some of the most stringent tax and regulatory laws on the continent. Before a betting licence can be renewed, a betting operator must gain approval from several bodies, including the Kenya Revenue Authority, Inter-Agency Security Team, Financial Reporting Centre and the Communications Authority.

Should any operator fail to get clearance from all of these bodies, their licence would not be renewed by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The BCLB is the main regulatory body for sports betting in Kenya.

Other countries have their own licensing rules, but the difference with Kenya is that they do a much better job of enforcing these rules.

Like the Kenyan authorities showed in the great betting battle of 2019, they are not afraid to get dirty and kick out any operator that doesn't comply with its rules.

You'd recall that in 2019, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the BCLB joined forces to take on some of the biggest betting companies in the country over non-payment of tax- a battle which eventually forced the heavyweight duo of SportPesa and Betin out of the Kenyan betting space.

Kenya is also doing a much better job of pulling in revenue from sports betting.

Betting companies in Kenya pay corporate tax on profits at a rate of 30%, while they must also part with 15% of their gross gaming revenue.

These are aside from the 7.5% tax on betting stakes by customers, and the 20% withholding tax on every winning bet.

Through these measures, the government rakes in billions of shillings on a yearly basis. They money can then be ploughed back into the society to improve the standard of living of the average Kenyan.

Despite these seemingly stringent measures, Kenya remains a continental heavyweight in online betting, boasting many great betting sites.

Sports betting continues to grow at a pretty decent rate, with the number of registered betting companies in the country recently climbing over 100.

The BCLB has got a big job on its hands, but so far, it has done it fairly well. Other countries in the region can learn from it.
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