The government has decided to direct teclos with mobile money services to withdraw paybill numbers of betting companies.
According to Citizen, the Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director, Liti Wambua said that the licences of the 27 firms remain withdrawn hence their payment platforms should be suspended.
The affected firms include SportPesa, Betin, Betway, BetPawa, Elitebet, PremierBet, Lucky2U, 1xBet, MozzartBet, DafaBet, World Sports Betting, Atari Gaming, Palms Bet, Betboss, Kick-Off, Atari, Millionaire Sports Bet, Palmsbet, Chezacash, Betyetu, Bungabet, Cysabet, Saharabet, Easibet, Easleighbet, Sportybet and AGB Lottery & Gaming.
“We wish to inform you that the licences 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 licence from this board,” the letter said. “Consequently, we request you to suspend their paybills and short codes until otherwise advised.”
Apparently the affected firms failed to prove they were tax compliant as required by the Betting Control and Licencing board. The probe by the multi-agency team found that the betting companies made Kshs 204 billion last year but only paid Kshs 4 billion in taxes.
These companies rely on mobile money services to allow people to stake their bets. Cutting this major source of inflow for them would probably jolt them to comply with the requirements by the regulator. We will have to wait and see how this major disruptive move will jolt the industry and its ripple on earnings on telcos in their financial years.