Betsson sees strong prospects in disrupted Kenya

Betsson AB has confirmed its intention to enter the Kenyan sports betting marketplace after starting a joint venture with Bet High Ltd.

Yesterday, Kenyan media reported that Betsson’s flagship sportsbook subsidiary Betsafe had replaced blacklisted SportPesa as shirt sponsor of KPL football clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.

Betsafe is yet to register its Kenya Betting Control Board (BCLB) licence. However, Betsson has since confirmed that it will launch Betsafe Kenya through fully owned subsidiary Bet High, who will manage Betsafe’s betting and casino licensing requirements.    

Betsson has sanctioned Bet High to trade in Kenya under the domain of ‘Betsafe Ventures’, with the joint-venture partner tasked with managing and servicing all day-to-day business functions of Betsafe Kenya including management, local marketing, operations and customer support. 

The new venture will be fully financed by Betsson, who will provide Bet High with its technology platforms and further technical support to operate the brand.   

Betsafe’s sponsorship of Nairobi football clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards was well received by local media, as Kenyan football has struggled financially since the market withdrawal of former KPL title sponsor Sportpesa.

A disruptive 2019 saw the Uhuru Kenyatta government suspend Kenya’s entire sports betting marketplace, blacklisting 27 licensed sportsbooks with regards to contested tax disputes with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The KRA instructed all national licensed banks and telecoms to terminate payment and mobile M-PESA wallet services for betting firms. 

Following this move, former market leader SportPesa announced its complete withdrawal from the market in August 2019, decimating KPL football finances.

Prior to its withdrawal, SportPesa had declared Kenyan net revenues of €200 million operating a business with 450 staff – numbers which support BetSafe’s confidence in the Kenyan market’s revenue prospects.

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