Gov’t orders Safaricom, Airtel to withdraw pay bill numbers of 27 betting firms
The government has now directed mobile money service providers; Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya to withdraw pay bill numbers and SMS codes of 27 betting companies among them SportPesa, Betin and Betway.
In a letter to the telcos, Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director Liti Wambua, said the licenses of the 27 firms remain withdrawn, hence, their payment platforms should also be suspended.
“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 short codes until otherwise advised,” reads the letter dated July 10, 2019.
The affected firms are said to have failed to prove that they were tax compliant as required by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).
This was apparently discovered after a probe by a multi-agency team constituted to probe the licenses of all betting and gaming companies in the country.
A report from the multi-agency team indicated that the companies made a cumulative amount of Ksh.204 billion last year but paid only Ksh.4 billion in taxes.
The firms whose licenses have since been canceled include, SportPesa, Betin, Betway, Betpawa, Elitebet, PremierBet, Lucky2u, 1xBet, MozzartBet, Dafabet, World Sports Betting, Atari Gaming, Palms Bet and Betboss.
Others are Kick-Off, Atari, Millionaire Sports Bet, Palmsbet, Chezacash, Betyetu, Bungabet, Cysabet, Saharabet, Easibet, Easleighbet, Sportybet and AGB Lottery & Gaming.
All betting licenses in the country stood suspended and fresh application sought by July 1, 2019 following a stakeholders meeting between Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and representatives of the firms in April.