SportPesa is an online gambling platform in Kenya, just like sbobet. It dominates the online gambling in Kenya by exploiting the mass arrival of mobile phone technology. Sportpesa also launched a spree of country’s Premier League club sponsorships in 2016. Since then SportPesa has its name spread across sports like football, rugby, horse racing and Formula One. This gaming platform is associating its branding with good works in Africa. But there are concerns about how this Kenyan-Bulgarian firm is profiting from an online gambling craze.
Sometime back SportPesa did a partnership with Everton club of Africa. Currently the club is moving around in Kenya for a pre-season tour. The club is promoting SportPesa’s “Kits for Africa” initiative. There is a donation bin in the club store. SportPesa is the main sponsor of the event and its name is prominent all over Goodison Park.
Recently there was an alarm raised by Kenya’s interior minister – Fred Matiang’i, about the rising addiction and suicides owing to the craze of gambling. The minister is of the opinion that gambling will “destroy the moral fabric” without strengthened regulation. There is a serious problem as gambling seems to have become entrenched among Kenyan young people. The youngsters are gambling and losing far more than elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Fred, nearly $2B is gambled annually in Kenya. The gambling is done in major by low earners. Till date approximately 500,000 young people are found defaulting on loans to fund gambling.
In UK for the bets SportPesa is allied to a company – TGP Europe that is registered offshore in the Isle of Man – a tax haven. All bets are paid to this Isle of Man and it seems SportPesa does not appear to pay any tax on those revenues to the UK Corporation. Or for that matter contribute to UK gambling welfare programmes. This however is not the case in Kenya when it comes to betting.
Last week, licenses of several gambling companies were suspended in Kenya. It was because of reported concerns about non-compliance with regulations. SportPesa was one among them. However SportPesa defends it by saying that they did comply with the regulations. Moreover the company is continuing to operate for the reason that they have a court order.