1 June 2020 by Lionel Faull
This investigation reveals Kenya’s enormous betting addiction. Leaked figures from the betting regulator show that punters wagered more than US$300 million in a single month in 2019.
A follow-up investigation reveals that at the same time the Kenyan government removed a tax for betting companies, a cousin of Kenya’s president accumulated a financial stake in betting giant SportPesa.
The staggering size of the local betting industry emerged from a leaked spreadsheet of revenue declarations made by gambling firms to the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) for May 2019, shortly before the government introduced tougher regulations and higher taxes.
Extrapolating from this monthly figure, punters were on track to spend more than US$3,4 billion on betting annually had the government not stopped the party. This amount is US$2,4 billion more than what the national government allocated to health in 2019/20. The leaked data reveals that Kenyan punters staked nearly 180 million individual bets in a single month.