Kenyans could lose money as govt orders suspension of betting firms’ mobile wallets

Kenyans could lose millions of money Wednesday night if telecommunications companies suspend mobile wallets of least 27 betting firms as directed by the government through the ministry of Interior.

The Betting Control and Licensing Board declined to renew license applications for the companies, citing lack of “merit on account of pending compliance or otherwise with set license conditions and regulatory requirements”.

This is the letter that was sent to betting companies in response to their application for renewal of their licenses. PHOTO/KURUNZI

Sportpesa, Betin, Betway and Dafabet, among others received letters dated 1 July from BCLB chairman Cyrus Maina.

“We wish to inform you that the licenses for the following betting firms were not renewed until they meet the outstanding renewal requirements as well as outcome of ongoing due diligence to determine if they are fit and proper to hold a license from this board,” read the letter.

“Consequently, we request you to suspend their pay bills and short codes until otherwise advised.”

It is not clear whether Betin would be affected by the directive as they had obtained a temporary injunction against BCLB action pending the hearing of their application on 16 July 2019.

High Court Judge W Korir, following an application to amend a petition by Gamcode, owners of Betin, had ordered that government be restrained from taking any action against the company “until 16th July 2019.”

“That a conservatory order be and is hereby issued staying and/or suspending the effect of the 2nd respondent’s decision of 1st July 2019 rejecting the applicant’s application for the renewal of its 2019/2020 bookmaker’s license…” ordered Justice Korir on 4 July, three days after the BCLB had cancelled the license

Kurunzi has obtained a letter (dated 3 July) from Asian Betting and Gaming enterprises Africa Limited, the owners of Dafabet, seeking to know specific areas they have not complied to but BCLB is yet to respond.

“As far the company is concerned, it is compliant with all regulatory requirements that it has been informed of, including timely remittance of all fees and taxes,” stated the letter signed Asian Betting owner Gary Underwood – a citizen of the United Kingdom.

In their letter, Dafabet wanted to be told what “details of compliance matters” to provide proof of compliance, while seeking clarification on whether they are allowed to continue operating but the directive to telcos means they would be blacked out.

Full list of suspended license

  • Sportpesa
  • Betin
  • Betway
  • Betpawa
  • Elitebet
  • PremierBet
  • Lucky2u
  • 1xBet
  • MozzartBet
  • Dafabet
  • World Sports Betting
  • Atari Gaming
  • Palms Bet
  • Betboss.
  • Kick-Off
  • Millionaire Sports Bet
  • Palmsbet
  • Chezacash
  • Betyetu
  • Bungabet
  • Cysabet
  • Saharabet
  • Easibet
  • Easleighbet
  • Sportybet
  • AGB Lottery & Gaming.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi had suspended all licenses effective 1 July and companies required to submit fresh applications, majority of which have been turned down.


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