A Quick Overview of Kenya’s Gambling Industry 

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Lily Martin

If you delve into the history of gambling, you will discover that it dates back almost to the dawn of human civilization. The truth is that the earliest signs of gambling may be seen throughout all historical periods, on multiple different continents, and in several different countries. 

As a result, it should come as no surprise that gambling continues to play an important role in the culture and enjoyment of a wide range of diverse cultures, even in modern times. Of course, Kenya is not an exception to this rule. It’s no secret that Kenya is often considered one of Africa’s most lucrative gaming markets. As a result, it is expected that the value of this market would be much greater than $40 million by 2020. 

However, many people are still surprised that a developing country like Kenya currently controls such a large portion of the gambling industry. However, if we look at the history of gambling in Kenya, it is clear how this country got to the point where it is now. This is because gambling has played a vital role in Kenya’s economic progress. 


Gambling legislation was first introduced in Kenya in 1966. The United Kingdom’s Bétting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act was responsible for making this possible. The measure established the Bétting Control and Licensing Board (KBC LB) at the time. Kenya established the Betting Control and Licensing Board (KBCLB) with the primary aim of regulating and licensing all kinds of gambling in the country. 

Following the approval of the legislation, land-based casinos began operating in all of the country’s main cities, eventually leading to the development of 30 casinos nationwide. 

The Gambling market in Kenya 

As previously stated, Kenya has a substantial gambling market. Even though it was expected to be worth $40 million in 2020, the market continues to rise significantly in 2021. Kenya currently ranks third in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of market size, trailing only South Africa and Nigeria. Nonetheless, despite having the third-largest market in terms of size, it has the highest number of gamblers in the region, particularly among young people. This suggests that young Kenyans gamble significantly more than young people in other African countries. 

Although sports betting is the most common type of gambling in Kenya, this does not indicate that other forms of gambling do not exist in the country. Naturally, as in many other African countries, football is the most popular sport among Kenyans, making it the most popular overall sport. 

Poker and online casino games are the second most popular types of gambling, and this trend is expected to continue after sports betting. Nonetheless, neither of these industries has reached the heights of popularity that the sports betting industry has. 

Athletic Events Betting 

It should come as no surprise that the sports betting sector in Kenya contributes around $2 billion to the country’s overall revenue due to its importance in the Kenyan gambling industry. Kenya took advantage of the popularity of sports in general by using it’s around 30 established sportsbooks and high aggregate revenue. SportPesa was the first online sportsbook to launch in the sector back in 2013. 

SportPesa is still one of Kenya’s most popular betting services, even in this day and age. As a result, more than 82 percent of Kenyan gamblers say they have had an account with this sportsbook in the past or have one presently. In addition to SportPesa, other popular options include Begin, Elitebet, Betika, Mcheza, and Betpawa. 


Since we’re already talking about the history of gambling in Kenya, it would be foolish not to mention the casinos that have been there. 

The market for traditional land-based casinos is also thriving. As previously stated, the thirty land-based casinos currently operating in Kenya are all located in the country’s major cities. The Flamingo Casino, the Mayfair Casino, the Captain’s Club in Nairobi, the Golden Key Casino in Mombasa, and the Senator Casino in Mombasa are among the most well-known casinos in Kenya. 

Unsurprisingly, blackjack, poker, and roulette are among the most popular games in these establishments. Slot machines, on the other hand, come in second place. Surprisingly, there are around 1300 slot machines scattered across the country, according to estimates. 

Kenyans can try their luck at any of the several internet casinos accessible today, in addition to traditional land-based casinos. Because there are so many options, companies such as casinos-online.co.ke have created a list of the best current bargains. 

How the Kenyan market evolved over time 

To further analyze all of the reasons why the Kenyan gambling market is where it is today, we need to look at some of the other elements that contributed to its expansion. This will allow us to delve deeper into all of the factors that have led to the current state of the Kenyan gaming business. The following are the two most important mentions: 

Fast internet access 

It may be difficult to believe, but some sites claim that internet speeds in Kenya are faster than those in the United States. As a result, Kenya’s internet speed, which averages 13.7 megabits per second, ranks 14th among all countries in the globe. When you consider that not many African countries can offer the same speeds, Kenya has a significant edge. Furthermore, the penetration rate in Kenya is roughly 43%, with the bulk of consumers accessing the internet via mobile devices. As a result, it is reasonable to conclude that Kenya is dominating the internet game. 

Services for mobile money 

The fact that the vast majority of Kenyans utilize mobile money services demonstrates that the country is entirely deserving of its market position. M-Pesa is the leading mobile money service that allows Kenyans to make a request whenever they want to deposit or withdraw money. Because of this, M-Pesa is Kenya’s most popular mobile money service. Furthermore, Kenyans employ M-Pesa for cashless transactions, which proved to be a very useful choice during the previous year’s pandemic. Aside from the options afforded by mobile money, the Kenyan economy is still heavily reliant on cash. This means that, for the most part, credit cards are not utilized. 

It should come as no surprise that M-Pesa allows Kenyans to quickly and easily make deposits and withdraw wins from both land-based and online casinos. In Kenya, M-Pesa is widely used. 

Conclusions and thoughts 

Kenya’s success in expanding its gambling sector may be ascribed in large part to the country’s early development of a competent regulating institution, in addition to the rise of sports betting, high-speed internet, and mobile money options. As a result, all gaming enterprises can obtain the necessary licenses in a relatively short period, which greatly benefits the total industry in terms of functioning as efficiently as possible.

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