Kenyans love their sports with local football, rugby, cricket, golf, athletics and other sporting events that take place not only in Kenya but all around the world as well.
It is no surprise that sports betting in Kenya is a big business in today’s world. Online bookmakers are an easily accessible option for Kenyan bettors and these bettors can back their favourite teams and players in anticipation of making big money. The best part is that you can place bets on a game of your choice either on your desktop or your phone so can do this on-the-go as well.
There has never been a better time to bet on sports since they are taking place on a daily basis across the world. No matter whether you are looking to place your first bet or if you already have experience in the market, be sure to take full advantage of the bonuses and promotions that are offered by online sportsbooks. This page will cover all the different aspects of online sports betting in Kenya, including its regulations, the most popular sports and how to get started yourself.
All you need to know about Online Betting in Kenya
Kenyans have a lot of experience in betting, especially, offline betting by visiting betting parlours and shops to place bets. A lot of this has changed now with online betting. The convenience and user-friendly application make it a dream for all age groups.
Online betting allows you to place bets on an online betting platform/website using your handheld device or PC/laptop. By betting online, you will have the comfort of being able to bet from home and do not have to leave your house to bet. Online betting allows you to place huge amounts of money by betting on events that you feel confident about.
How does Online Sports Betting work in East Africa’s Kenya?
Online betting is not fundamentally different from a brick and mortar betting shop, however, it is way better. It is faster but what makes it so amazing is its convenience.
Online sports betting is very simple to get started with, and all you need to do is the following:
- Select the sportsbook(s) that you would like to use to place your bets
- Click on your selection and visit the website/app
- Register by creating an account with the required details as given
- Make your first deposit and claim your welcome bonus to enjoy betting on your favourite sports
Is betting via SMS possible in Kenya?
Kenya has another intriguing way of betting and that is through SMS! Yes, you read this correctly. Local bookmakers accept bets via SMS and this is common among local bookmakers in the country but with the rise in popularity of online betting, and internet penetration, this has suffered a setback.
Deposits can still be made via SMS, however. Many popular (and licensed) betting sites accept mobile phone-based transfers like M-Pesa, which is one of the biggest payment platforms in Kenya.
On mobile phone payment platforms like M-Pesa, all you need to do after registering your account with your number is SMS the details and your funds would then appear in your account following a text message confirming the transaction.
What are the Sports Betting Regulations in Kenya?
Gambling and betting are very much legal in Kenya and was one of the first countries in Africa to legalise all forms of betting in 1966 itself! It was legalised with the 1966 Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act.
Kenya has 50+ million people living in the country and is one of the strongest economies in Africa. As per the law, no one below 18 years of age is allowed to bet or gamble. You cannot even buy a lottery ticket before complete 16 years of age.
Kenya came up with a new law in 2020, known as the Gambling Act 2020, which states that there would be a 35% taxation on gaming advertising.
There is a 20% tax on jackpot winnings and the cost for acquiring a license for online betting is set at 100 million shillings.
The National Gaming Authority has replaced the Betting and Licensing Control Board (BCLB) and a Gaming Appeals Tribunal has been established for adjudicating gambling/betting-related disputes.
Kenya has a 15% tax rate on winnings from betting and gambling, currently. The new law has set the minimum betting amount in Kenya as 50 shillings and all foreign operators are required to have a physical presence alongside base servers in the country to protect its civilians.
Mobile money is an authorized means of payment and this is extremely important since there are more mobile money subscribers than the entire population of Kenya! Due to this, Kenya’s sports betting market is predominantly through mobile phone betting.
Popular Sports for Betting in Kenya
This is not even a question and is no doubt, the most popular sport in Kenya. In fact, football is the most popular sport for betting in Africa.
Kenyans love to bet on their local leagues, especially, the first division of football in the country – the Kenya Premier League. They also enjoy betting on their international football team. Kenyans are a proud footballing nation and they back their side to the hilt in hopes that the Harambee Stars will do them proud.
Given the success of multiple players in some of the top leagues in Europe has led to a rise in popularity of betting on the English Premier League as well and this leads the way when it comes to international football competitions.
The Harambee Stars Captain Victor Wanyama’s successful stint in the Premier League has helped a lot of Kenyans to dream of succeeding at the highest level in football and fans are hopeful that more players will break onto the biggest stage to emulate his success.
Locals also enjoy betting on South East Asian games, the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, and many more of the top football leagues around the globe.
Rugby is the second-most popular sport in Kenya so it is no surprise that it makes this list. The sport is very well established in the country and the local teams get great international exposure as they get to travel to other nations and take on teams around the world.
The Kenya Rugby Football Union was established in 1923 and is responsible for managing the sport in the country. The Safari Sevens Rugby tournament in Kenya is the most famous local tournament and garners lots of interest not only as a spectacle but also for betting.
Rugby fans from around the globe visit Kenya every year to watch this amazing competition. Other commonly found tournaments for rugby betting are the Mitre 10 Cup, the Rugby World Cup, French Pro D2, The Rugby Championship, the Six Nations, Bledisloe Cup and the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Cricket is one of the biggest sports in the world and Kenya was a top 10 nation once upon a time. They reached the semifinals of the World Cup in 2003 and had some top talents in the past.
With the massive growth in popularity of football, cricket suffered a little bit and Kenya lost its ICC one-day international (ODI) and T20 status in 2014 and 2015, respectively. It is starting to pick up once again and Cricket Kenya (the board in charge of cricketing operations in Kenya) is keen on getting the sport back on track and regaining international status once again.
The youth of Kenya love cricket and the board is doing its best to develop interest and train players from the grassroots level so that they can have an international standing.
Most online bookmakers in Kenya have cricket matches that you can bet on including some of the biggest tournaments across the globe including the Indian Premier League (IPL), Australia’s Big Bash League, the Ashes, the Cricket World Cup, T20 World Cup, Caribbean Premier League and many more.
Kenya has 40 golf courses across the country so it is understandable as to why the sport has become so popular. The Kenya Open Golf Championship is the most successful event with massive turnouts and big bets.
Bettors love betting on the world-renowned Open Golf Championship so this market is very active in March, when the tournament takes place, every year.
Other popular events are the Presidents Cup, US Masters, US Open and the Solheim Cup.
Kenyans are ardent sports fans. They love all kinds of sport so it comes as no surprise that they are huge fans of motorsports. This is probably a reason as to why the nation has its own Motorsports Federation.
Kenya is a host of the World Rally Championship (WRC) race is considered the hardest course of all the races on the calendar. Known as the Safari Rally, this has made motorsport extremely popular in not only Kenya but also Africa. Bettors enjoy placing bets on the World Rally Championship on online sports betting platforms that offer odds on the event.
Kenya is extremely proud of its athletes and they are one of the most successful in the world when it comes to athletics. The marathon is the first thing that comes to mind when you mention Kenya and athletics in the same breath.
The last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro saw Kenyan dominance in the event with Eliud Kipchoge winning the men’s gold and Jemimah Sumgong doing the same in the women’s event. Kenya has dominated the event for over 2 decades now and that has led to more money being invested in athletics, especially, track and field.
The Kenyans had their most successful Olympic campaign ever in Rio 2016 and will be hoping for another strong showing in Japan’s summer Olympics.
Kenyans love to bet on the summer Olympics and will more often than not, bet on their local athletes to win.
Betting Promotions and Bonuses in Kenya
Just like the global betting market, the online sports betting market in Kenya is extremely competitive and cutthroat. Sportsbooks are always trying to outdo each other to succeed and come out on top by growing their userbase.
The best part about online betting is the fact that you can leverage bonus bets and online sportsbooks have multiple betting bonuses available for Kenyans.
Make sure to read the terms and conditions to understand everything around the bonuses before claiming the same to make sure that you end up utilising it and it does not go waste.
Payment Methods for Betting in Kenya
Kenya, like most of Africa, has seen a rapid growth in popularity of online betting. With competition increasing, online sportsbooks have invested heavily on improving the websites and apps that can be accessed by customers for a pleasant betting experience.
A major feature of improvement has been the ease of depositing and withdrawing funds, which has made it easier and convenient for users.
This improvement in ease of transacting has improved the overall experience of bettors and led to an increase in betting.
Here are the most common payment methods in the country.
This is hands down, the most popular method for deposits in Kenya and is the most widely available as well in the country. Almost every (if not every) local online sports betting platform will have this facility available for its users as it is by far, the easiest payment option.
M-Pesa (set up by Vodafone) and Airtel Money are the most popular mobile payment platforms out there.
How to use M-Pesa in Kenya
M-Pesa is a very popular mobile money transfer payment method that is commonly used in Kenya for online betting. It enables fast and efficient fund transfers and was launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom. It is one of the most-used and trusted banking options.
It can be used not only for deposits but also withdrawals and is available 24×7. To use M-Pesa as an online payment method, the first thing are required to do is sign up for an account at any authorised M-Pesa agent in Kenya and there are too many so you need not worry about that.
You can sign up in one of the following 2 ways:
- If you have an old Safaricom sim card, you will need to upgrade to a new sim card (which has the M-Pesa menu) for a nominal fee of around 50 shillings, or
- If you are new to Safaricom, you can register for a new M-Pesa account free of charge!
In order to register as a new user, all you need to do is visit an authorised agent with your mobile phone and personal identification. You will need to just fill in a registration form that asks for your general details like full name, date of bith and your Safaricom mobile number.
Once everything is in place, the agent will generate a 4-digit pin that will be sent to your number via SMS, which you would need to use to activate your M-Pesa account.
In order to activate your M-Pesa account, you need to just simply navigate to the Safaricom menu and choose the M-Pesa option.
Select “Activate” or “Wezesha” (depending on the primary language of your phone), enter the 4-digit pin you received, create a new pin that no one else knows and finally, enter your ID number that you registered with to finish the process.
After this, you will be redirected to an M-Pesa menu that will have a unique word you need to keep in mind and keep private. This unique word has been created for verification of your identity when you call Customer Support. Your unique pin will be required for deposits and withdrawal of funds.
How to use Airtel Money
Another extremely popular payment method in Kenya is Airtel Money. It is a convenient, safe and secure mobile payment option that allows users to operate their betting account from their mobile phones in an efficient manner.
Just like M-Pesa, Airtel Money is accessible 24×7 and is accepted by almost every online sportsbook in Kenya. All users need to transfer money to and from their online betting accounts using Airtel Money is a mobile phone.
Airtel Money is an SMS-based payment option and is accessible by anyone in Kenya. To get started, all you need to do is visit an Airtel outlet in Kenya to sign up for a free Airtel Money account.
The process is identical to M-Pesa so whichever method you choose, the benefits and perks are practically the same. It is up to you to decide which mobile service provider you prefer.
Here are the steps for using Airtel Money.
- Firstly, register with a licensed Kenyan online sportsbook, and ensure that you have transferred funds to your Kenyan Airtel Money account.
- Once you log in to your sportsbook, access your Airtel Money account on your mobile phone and select the “Make Payments” option, followed by “Pay Bill”.
- Click on the “Others” option next and enter the site’s business name (which will likely be a 6-digit number), then the sum you wish to deposit, followed by your unique Airtel Money PIN and finally a reference (you can put the name of your bookmaker).
- As soon as you click “Send,” you should receive an SMS confirming that your funds have been debited from your Airtel Money account and sent to your betting account.
- The amount should reflect in your betting account and then enjoy placing your bets!
Debit Cards and Credit Cards
This method is popular with international bookmakers in Kenya. Cards like Visa and MasterCard have fast processing times along with safe and secure transacting. There is generally no fee chargeable additionally on using debit or credit cards.
If you have a debit or credit card then you can be almost certain that this payment method will be accepted by all betting sites and apps.
E-wallets are another popular payment method in Kenya. Bettors are required to have existing accounts with e-wallets to be able to utilise them for depositing money into their betting accounts.
Commonly used e-wallets in Kenya are Neteller and Skrill. The credits in either of these e-wallets can be used to deposit funds while withdrawals can also be made using these methods but it comes with a small service fee.
The major positive of using e-wallets is that there is no need for financial details to be shared with the website or app they are used on.
Skrill is an online e-wallet that is popular among bettors across the globe and is accepted by most betting websites as well.
Neteller is very similar to Skrill and is again, accepted by most online bookmakers in Kenya.
PayPal took the world by storm with its payment facility. It is an online payment provider that is widely used across the globe, however, not too many Kenyan sports betting platforms have this option available for payments.
The classic method of transferring funds, bank transfers can always be used to load and withdraw funds from your betting account.
This has lost popularity given the effort involved in making a transfer. It is laborious and slow unlike online transfers.
Cryptocurrency is slowly gaining traction around the world and some bettors have started using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to make payments, wherever available. A handful of online betting websites/apps have the option available in Kenya and this number is slowly but surely growing.
Make sure to choose a betting platform where you can make deposits easily and quickly so that you avoid wasting time!