Weeks ago, the government of Kenya directed mobile money service provider including Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya to withdraw pay bill numbers and SMS codes of 27 betting companies in the country which had not renewed their betting licenses. Atleast have had their licences renewed bringing down the number to 17. Among the major betting firms affected by the ban included the country’s mega Sport Pesa and Betin companies. The directive saw over one million daily gamblers significantly affected with Sport Pesa reporting that the company was loosing over 54 million shillings in profit that the company usually makes on a single day.
The company through its official statement accused the government through the Betting Control and Licensing Board of trying to ‘discourage’ Kenyans and ‘disrupt’ business terming the ban as illegal, abrupt, malicious and prejudicial.
But despite the giant Telco company Safaricom withdrawing its pay bill number (955100), reports show that Equitel together with PayPal Paybill numbers are still active and transferring money to the Sport Pesa’s individual accounts. On the same note, Sport Pesa through its CEO Ronald Karauri also accused Safaricom of being swift in withdrawing their services terming the move as illegal and malicious. There were also reports that the companies were allowing the underage children in the country to participate in gambling a report that Sport Pesa strongly denied.
The betting menace has also caught on in countries like Uganda where the expansion of satellite TV and the creation of a national lottery has lured many jobless youths into gambling. But the good news for gamblers is that, SportPesa has told its clients that they can still bet and withdraw their winnings.
Furthermore they have said in a statement that they are just about to solve the issue and will be fully in operation by end of next week. 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). 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. If you try and it is impossible or you lack funds in your accounts, you can opt for the other 16 betting sites which have been approved by the government. It is simple.