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Are Online Casinos Progressively Becoming Popular in Kenya?

Las Vegas casino
[PHOTO/ COURTESY]

One industry that has been thriving despite all those ongoing coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions and limitations in place is most certainly the online gambling industry. The African continent is one of the most promising places for online casinos and online sports betting sites and this does not come as a surprise considering the fact that almost sixty percent of the entire population is under the age of twenty-five.

Globally, the iGaming industry is expected to reach over $127 billion in the six years from now at an expected growth rate of 11.5%. With more and more people using smartphones and with rising internet penetration rates in Africa, it is expected to see the African iGaming market growing as well. Most African countries are very supportive of online casino gaming and online sports betting activities with several markets leading the way including the Kenyan, South African, and Nigerian iGaming markets.

Tanzania and Ghana have thriving iGaming markets as well with almost half of the countries’ adult population engaging in some kind of online gambling activities. Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent and it has the biggest gambling industry. Kenya is right there as well with a constantly improving online gambling market. Online casinos in Kenya have amazing gaming libraries, very lucrative bonuses and promotions, and a bunch of other perks and benefits that Kenya gamers enjoy.

Gambling Laws in Kenya

Online casinos in Kenya support numerous local payment options as well and this makes it easier for Kenyan gamers to make deposits and withdraw their winnings. Kenya is home to almost fifty-five million people as estimated in 2021 so it is the twenty-ninth most populous country in the world. Around forty percent of the Kenya population are individuals younger than fourteen years old while around twenty percent of its population are individuals aged between fifteen and twenty-four.

Read: YouTube Prohibits Gambling, Alcohol and Political Ads from Running on Most Prominent Slot

Around thirty-five percent of the country’s entire population are individuals aged between twenty-five and fifty-four and around four percent of the population are individuals aged between fifty-five and sixty-four. Just around three percent of the country’s population are individuals older than sixty-five years old. This means that the country’s median age is just twenty years and almost fifty percent of the entire Kenya population are individuals younger than twenty-four years old.

Considering this, Kenya is a very young country and this most certainly influences the country’s online casino gaming and sports betting industry quite positively. When it comes to Kenyan casino sites, they operate within the country’s borders legally as according to the Kenya gambling laws, all sorts of casino gaming and sports betting activities are legal. More specifically, Kenya was one of the very first African countries to legalize various forms of casino games and sports betting almost six decades ago.

Gambling activities in the country were legalized with the introduction of the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act from 1966. According to the main piece of legislation concerning the gambling industry, Kenya residents who are at least eighteen years old can engage in gambling activities at online casinos operational in the country and numerous casinos are active there. If you want to learn more about the online casinos Kenya has to offer, check out online-casinos.com.

The 1966 Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act

The main piece of legislation concerning the Kenyan gambling industry is the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act from 1966. According to the law’s regulations, casino sites can legally operate in Kenya even though the main piece of legislation does not mention iGaming activities. Under the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act:

  • Casino gaming, poker, bingo, sports betting, and betting activities are overseen by the Betting Control and Licensing Board
  • Lotteries, social gaming, and fantasy betting activities are also governed by the Betting Control Licensing Board
  • Underage gambling is illegal
  • To lawfully offer iGaming activities, operators must obtain required licenses
  • Operational iGaming venues must regularize their tax statuses

Essentially, the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act that has been in force for almost six decades set out the regulations and rules of gaming, lotteries, betting, and various forms of prize competitions occurring within the country’s borders. Under the Part V of the main piece of legislation, gaming taxes are always chargeable. More specifically, iGaming operators must pay taxes on their generated gaming revenues, and gaming taxes are paid on a monthly basis. Since January of 2017, the gaming tax rate is fifty percent of the generated gaming revenues in a single month.

Read: CS Matiang’i Orders Immigration Department To Begin Crackdown On Foreign Investors Involved In Illegal Gambling Business

Under the laws and regulations of the Kenya Revenue Authority Act, gaming taxes are paid to the Commissioner-General. As previously mentioned, the Betting Control and Licensing Board is responsible for governing and overseeing all sorts of gambling activities in Kenya including online casino gaming activities. The Betting Control Licensing Board operates under the Kenyan Ministry of Interior and Coordination Department. The regulatory body is responsible for:

  1. Issuing licenses to iGaming operators
  2. Regulating and controlling gaming, lotteries, and betting activities
  3. Protecting gamers against fraud
  4. Eradicating any form of illegal gambling
  5. Promoting safe, responsible gaming
  6. Presiding over prize competition and public lottery draws
  7. Conducting regular checks on gaming operations
  8. Ensuring that iGaming gaming activities are conducted responsibly

The Betting Control and Licensing Board

Having an iGaming regulatory body such as the Betting Control and Licensing Board most certainly boosts the growth of the Kenya online casino gaming and sports betting market. The main piece of legislation has given all the power to the Betting Control and Licensing Board to effectively control all forms of iGaming and land-based gaming activities in the country. The Betting Control and Licensing Board was also given the power to carry out numerous other activities related to the recovery of gambling-related taxes.

The Betting Control and Licensing Board is also responsible for the authorization of prize competitions and lotteries and of course, eradication of any form of illegal gambling. The main responsibilities of the Betting Control and Licensing Board include both regulating and controlling gaming lotteries, and betting, protecting gamers against fraud, and promoting safe gaming practices. At all times, the Betting Control and Licensing Board does everything in its power to ensure that gaming activities within the country are conducted competitively, responsibly, and honestly with the maximum contribution to the public and minimum costs.

Some of the core values of the Betting Control and Licensing Board include transparency, accountability, equity, integrity, and professionalism. As powerful as it is, the Betting Control and Licensing Board makes sure that every single Kenyan gamer registered at an online casino or an online sports betting site is treated with respect. This leads us back to the main piece of legislation that may not explicitly mention online casinos and online casino gaming activities but these are most certainly legal.

The Growing Popularity of Online Casinos in Kenya

Many international online casinos operate and this does not come as a surprise considering Kenya was one of the very first countries on the continent to legalize gambling activities. In fact, the popularity of online casinos across the globe has been on the rise for many years now and Kenya is home to one of the most thriving iGaming industries in Africa. Needless to say, online casino gaming activities have positively affected the country’s economy.

Read: CS Matiang’i Says Gov’t Winning War On Gambling Menace

The regulation of such activities in Kenya led to the interest of gamblers shifting from land-based to online casinos as they are very convenient, very safe, and very generous with bonuses and promotions. Another major factor that is positively affecting the Kenya iGaming industry is the country’s very high internet penetration rate that as of 2021 stands at 85.2%. As estimated at the beginning of 2021, there were almost sixty million mobile connections in the country and this is a major increase of 11% when compared to the total number of mobile connections back in 2020.

Rising internet penetration rates and more and more mobile connections most certainly positively impact the growth of online casino gaming in Kenya. There are also other factors that contribute to the online casino gaming industry in the country progressively growing including bonuses and promotions. With so many different international online casinos warmly accepting Kenyan players, gamers get to claim all sorts of generous bonuses, boost their bankrolls, and play for prolonged periods.

Online casinos are very safe and extremely convenient. All sorts of online casino games can be accessed within seconds whether using PCs, tablets, or smartphones. Kenya gamers are also big fans of gaming on the move and with such a young population, almost everyone has a smartphone connected to the internet.

Online casinos also boast an impressive variety of online casino games such as scratch cards, craps, table games, and more, and not all of these games can be played at land-based casinos. With so many young Kenyan players looking for ways to earn easy money, turning to online casinos is one way of doing so. These are just some of the main reasons why online casinos are becoming progressively popular in Kenya and with this being said, the future of the Kenyan iGaming industry looks very promising.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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