The Kenya Market Debate Heats Up

Published June 4, 2019 by Lee R

The Kenya Market Debate Heats Up

The struggle to accommodate all voices in Kenya rages on, with all arguments strong, influential and potent.

Vibrant Kenya is working through some local challenges to regulate.

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The first hurdle is Kenya’s High Court temporary suspension of a blocking edict from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) which sought to prohibit celebrities from participating in gambling advertisements and promotions.

The Block

Set to take effect at the end of last month, the block sought to further restrict outdoor advertisements of gambling and advertising on social media and television adverts of gambling to between 10pm and 6am.

Further review suggests internal bickering among proponents and opponents, and concerns about individual benefits dominating officials stances at the highest levels.

Earlier Prevailing Resistance

Nonetheless, many government authorities have been staunch opponents of gambling in the country from the outset. Earlier opposition includes last September's refusal by the Kenya Parliament of the country’s Finance and National Planning Committee recommendation to lower gaming tax in the country from 35% to 15% and the accompanying arguments that the high rate is hampering growth in the domestic market.

In other words, many Kenya government officials oppose gambling outright.

The Appeal of Africa

For iGaming industry stakeholders, Africa still remains an appealing area of focus, with a massive population of over 1.2 billion accompanied a high rate of internet and smartphone penetration. Kenya is one of Africa's largest markets, and an East Africa leader. Kenya joins South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana as some of the countries where the gambling industry grown most significantly in recent years.

The Appeal of Kenya

In Kenya, the success of the market has been driven by the hugely successful mobile money industry in Kenya, with virtually every adult in Kenya in possession of a mobile money account and mobile money platform MPESA officially the dominating medium in all financial transactions in Kenya. With accompanying high rates of internet and smartphone use, Kenya has seen significant growth in sports betting and online casinos since 2014.

The Moral Compass

The moral component remains the strongest factor in the Kenya market, with Kenya also showing the highest number of youths involved in gambling and gaming activities. There are also strong religious influences in the government, so Kenya truly a healthy mix of motivation and opposition. A happy medium there would be a true beacon not just for Africa, but for the global iGaming industry.

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