How to gamble legally in Kenya

All gambling in Kenya falls under the umbrella of the Betting Control and Licensing Board, or BCLB. Like many African nations, Kenyans love sport, and as such the gambling market is dominated by sports betting.

As one of the first countries in Africa to legalise many forms of gambling, Kenya has been leading the way in terms of real-money gaming. It has the third-largest gambling market in Africa and some of the most permissive legislation around gambling both in brick-and-mortar venues and online.

Kenya’s gambling culture

All gambling in Kenya falls under the umbrella of the Betting Control and Licensing Board, or BCLB. The BCLB was established in 1966, the same year gambling was legalised, through an Act of Parliament. There are currently around 30 land-based casinos in Kenya, of which the majority (21) are located in Nairobi. The country also boasts a horse racing track, three bookmakers and double-digit bingo halls, as well as a National Lottery for which tickets can be purchased online or at physical outlets.

Since 1966, gambling has been a popular pastime among many Kenyans. However, it was with the advent of internet gambling and particularly mobile gambling that the industry really began to take off. Kenya has a number of land-based casinos.

The online world

Online casinos and other gaming websites operating in Kenya therefore have their sites fully optimised for mobile, to appeal to the mass market and replicate as closely as possible the experience of playing on a desktop computer.

Online gambling via mobile has been boosted by smartphone penetration and also by advances in mobile banking technology. Many people in Africa now have access to mobile banking services, some form of credit or debit card or other online payment platforms such as an eWallet. This allows people to pay for goods and services securely via their mobile devices, which makes online gaming an option for many people who were previously unable to access this type of service.

Like many African nations, Kenyans love sport, and as such the gambling market is dominated by sports betting. However, casino games and other forms of gambling are beginning to increase penetration, particularly to the younger market. The minimum gambling age in Kenya is 18 and the age bracket from 18 to mid-20s enjoy playing all sorts of real-money games.

Online poker is highly popular, as are other casino table games such as blackjack. Online players enjoy accessing slots games, of which there are hundreds to choose from ranging from simple three-reel games to complex five-reel versions with exciting themes and plenty of additional features.

The UK

The UK is well-known for their gambling culture. Citizens in the UK enjoy playing various casino games, bets and bingo games. The UK has a love for bingo and the nation has seen bingo be brought back to life with technology advancements. The game transitioning online and being able to be accessed via mobile phone has meant that online bingo websites are increasing in popularity among the younger audience.

This means that bingo sites are now using promotions such as the latest wink bingo deals and offers to draw in different players. Bingo is a game that has taken off well in UK and other countries around the world and Kenya could be next. The UK is often held up as a model for the rest of the world when it comes to permissive yet fair gambling legislation. Kenya regulations compare to the UK in many ways, including relaxed sports betting rules and no ban on online gambling.

Many Kenyan sports fans enjoy betting on UK football and so may choose to access online sportsbooks based outside of Kenya if this service is available. One survey found that 88% of gamblers in Kenya aged between 25 and 34 used their mobiles to place wagers on the English Premier League.

Many citizens in Kenya opt to place sports bets on football matches that take place in the UK.

Punitive registration costs for local gambling companies in Kenya often results in the market being saturated by companies from overseas, with British companies at the forefront. Huge licensing costs cause many home-grown bookmakers and online casino operators to cease trading, leaving gaps in the market for foreign companies to reap the rewards of the huge Kenyan online gaming market. British companies appeal to large swathes of the Kenyan market due to the popularity of English football.

As one of the most relaxed countries in Africa in terms of gambling laws and with one of the largest markets for online gambling, Kenya has plenty to offer both gamers and companies providing gaming services. There are still some areas where the country could perhaps learn from the UK, such as reducing the licensing and registration fees to encourage more local firms to develop online gambling services.

However, for residents and tourists alike who enjoy placing wagers or engaging in real-money games, Kenya provides plenty of choice in a regulated and fair environment both online and off.


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