Shocking details of Sh30bn-a-month bets

The enormous scale of Kenya’s betting addiction can now be revealed. Leaked figures from the betting regulator show that punters wagered more than Sh30 billion (US$300 million) in a single month last year.

The staggering size of the local betting industry has emerged from a leaked spreadsheet of revenue declarations made by gambling firms to the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) for May 2019, shortly before the government introduced tougher regulations and higher taxes.

Extrapolating from this monthly figure, punters were on track to spend more than Sh360 billion on betting annually had the government not stopped the party.

This amount is Sh257 billion more than what the national government allocated to health in 2019/20.

It is also more than the Sh327 billion used to build the Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and buy locomotives and coaches. It is also more than the Sh310 billion allocated to counties as shareable revenue last year. (…)

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