It was good news for gamblers after SportPesa told its clients that they can still bet and withdraw their winnings.
In a statement to its customers, the betting firm said they can still play and withdraw their money as usual.
The statement comes after bettors who tried using the firms’ paybill numbers got messages advising them to contact their betting companies.
SportPesa rely largely on M-Pesa to take bets, communicate with users and process payments.
When contacted by their customers, SportPesa responded: “If you have funds in your SportPesa, you can play with us and withdraw your winning as usual.”
The news is only positive for gamblers who did not withdraw all their money from their SportPesa betting wallets to beat the deadline provided by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) last week.
BCLB had warned Kenyans that they cannot withdraw or deposit with suspended betting firms.
BCLB’s directive saw thousands of punters scrambling to withdraw their money from the affected betting firms.
However, the betting firm noted they are still working to restore their normal operations, saying that it is only their pay bill numbers which are still not in operation.
“Thanks for reaching out to us. For now, you can only deposit via mobile money which is currently suspended. We are still in discussions with the government and relevant stakeholders and are positive that we will be back to full operation soon,” added the statement.
Punters with money in their betting wallets managed to play the SportPesa’s mid-week Jackpot as well as Mega Jackpot where those who predicted 11 and 10 out of 13 games listed in the midweek jackpot won Sh126,303 and sh16, 038 respectively.
BCLB has not renewed the 2019/20 licences for 27 betting firms it says have not met the renewal requirements.
The closure of the betting accounts will impact heavily on millions of Kenyans who have made betting an ‘occupation’.
Also to be affected are social projects, especially sports that depend on the firms for funding and sponsorship.
In the five years that Sportpesa has been in operation, it has become the most ubiquitous in sports sponsorship in football, boxing, and rugby.
According to figures provided by Safaricom and betting companies, there are about 12 million active betting accounts, a majority of which are now suspended leaving their users in limbo.