The government has ordered Safaricom and Airtel telecommunication companies to withdraw the paybill numbers of 27 betting firms operating in the country over failure to meet renewal requirements.
Top betting firms that have been affected by the directive include SportPesa, Betin and Betway.
In a letter to the telcos, Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director Liti Wambua said the betting board had withdrawn licenses of the 27 firms, hence, the need to suspend their payment platforms.
“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.
“Consequently, we request you to suspend their pay bills and shortcodes until otherwise advised,” the letter dated July 10 reads in part.
A report by a multi-agency team tasked to probe the betting firms revealed that the companies had failed to prove that they are tax compliant as required by law.
The report indicated that despite the companies making a whopping Ksh204 billion from the business last year, they only remitted Ksh4 billion in taxes.
Other firms that got their licenses suspended are Betpawa, Elitebet, PremierBet, Lucky2u, 1xBet, MozzartBet, Dafabet, World Sports Betting, Atari Gaming, Palms Bet and Betboss.
Dafabet, Kick-Off, Atari, Millionaire Sports Bet, Palmsbet, Chezacash, Betyetu, Bungabet, Cysabet, Saharabet, Easibet, Easleighbet, Sportybet and AGB Lottery & Gaming are also on the list.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had vowed to revoke all licenses for betting firms until they passed a vetting exercise that included them providing a tax compliance certificate.