Kenia – how regulated is the Kenyan gambling market

The eastern African nation of Kenya lies on the equator and is home to 45 million residents. It has the most advanced economy of any eastern or central African country.

Gambling in Kenya has been legal since 1966 and it has really taken off in recent years. Revenues are climbing with the many land-based establishments booming. Of note, the sports betting sector has seen incredible growth. The minimum gambling age is 18.

Still, nearly 20% of all Kenyans live on less than $1.25 per day. What’s more is that it is estimated that the average Kenyan pays 16 bribes per month which adds up to about a third of their income. The service industry is driven by tourism and accounts for over 60% of the GDP. Agriculture and manufacturing are also critical industries here.

Kenyan gambling laws were established in 1966 with the introduction of the Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act. These Kenyan gambling laws established the Betting Control and Licensing Board which issues gambling licenses and enforces regulations in all sectors of gambling. Kenya is now home to 28 casinos, 11 bingo halls, 3 sportsbooks, and 1 horse racing track. These are all licensed and regulated land-based operations. Lotteries, bingo, poker, and sports betting are all state-run monopolies and are quite popular.

As for online gambling in Kenya, it was a state monopoly too but the company that ran it,, closed up shop leaving no legal options for online play. Of course, with so many foreign online gambling sites out there, Kenyan online casino players actually do have options. There are numerous online gaming sites that take bets from Kenyan players. The government does not block these sites and has recently begun to issue licenses to online sportsbooks. On paper, gambling in Kenya is a tightly regulated state monopoly.

Going back to the amount of bribes that are taken on a daily basis, it is hard to tell what the real story is. While the monopoly may have sprung a leak with the failure of their online operation and proliferation of “illegal” internet casino betting, their casinos, lotteries, bingo halls, and sportsbooks are all well-liked and doing well.

A 20% tax on winnings was supposed to have been implemented three years ago by the Kenyan government but it doesn’t appear to be in place yet. There has been “no meaningful revenues” collected to date and Kenyan casino-goers report that no portions of their winnings have been withheld.

The tax, which was supposed to be withheld at the source, was a topic of much controversy. A 20% tax on lottery winnings has been implemented though. Kenyan gambling operations are a strong source of revenues through taxes and licensing fees.

The official currency of Kenya is the shilling and it is accepted everywhere in the country. Kenyans who want to play for real money at online gaming sites have a few good payment options. Major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro are commonly accepted as are eWallets like Skrill and Neteller.

Pre-paid cards are widely accepted and bank wire transfers can even be used to deposit and withdraw funds. Check with your online gaming site to see what options are available to you.


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