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Gambling regulator, BCLB clears 46 firms to operate this year

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By Isaac OGANGA

The Kenyan gambling regulator, the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), says it has cleared 46 companies to receive operating licences for the 2022/2023 financial year.

A majority of the companies were cleared by Kenya Rev(KRA)enue Authority  between the start of last month and August 5, paving the way for the issuance of their licenses by the BCLB.

“Between 1st July and 5th August 2022, a total of one hundred and five (105) companies have been cleared by KRA for issuance of BCLB licence,” noted KRA.

Data reveals that Kenyan punters staked nearly 180 million individual bets in a single month. Kenya has an adult population of around 35 million, according to 2019 population census figures released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statics (KNBS). The average amount bet per stake was Sh170 (£1.30).

GeoPoll’s study found that out of those age 18+ in Kenya, 57% have participated in gambling in the past, including 69% of males and 44% of females. Of those who gamble, 47% are light gamblers who place bets once a month or less, and only 10% of gamblers place bets more than once a day.

The study finds that gambling is most popular among males aged 25-34, of whom 77% have gambled in the past, with 58% of this group gambling at least once a week. Females age 35+ are the least likely participants in gambling; Only 46% of this population have ever gambled.

Of those who have not gambled in the past, 39% report that they are not interested, and 27% state a lack of money prevents them from gambling. Those aged 25-34 who do not participate in gambling are most likely to report that this is because of either a lack of money or the fear of losing money – 48% of these participants cited a money-based reason for not gambling, compared to 36% of those aged 35+ and 31% of those aged 18-24, suggesting that this group is interested in gambling but feels a responsibility to not spend their money on gambling.

GeoPoll also confirmed that mobile phones have been at the forefront of the gambling industry in Kenya. There are stark differences in gambling prevalence among smartphone owners vs non-smartphone owners, with just 40% of those owning basic phones gambling, compared to 64% of smartphone owners. Females who own a basic mobile phone are the least likely to have gambled, with only 27% of this group placing bets or gambling.

In addition, among those who have gambled, mobile applications are by far the most popular medium for doing so; 88% of gamblers have used their mobile device to place bets, and 55% of those are gambling on their phone once a week or more.

This makes mobile-based gambling both the most popular and the most frequently used method of gambling, demonstrating how the ease of access to mobile gambling has changed the betting industry dramatically.

Casinos are less popular, with only 36% of gamblers reporting that they place bets in casinos, and a third of those who go to casinos stating that they do so once a month or less.

Cyber cafes and betting shops are also less frequently used for betting than mobile, with only 28% and 33% of the gambling population respectively noting that they place bets through these shops.

Gamblers in Kenya are most likely to bet by themselves, with 40% noting that they place bets alone most often, however 38% bet with friends, demonstrating that even with the popularity of mobile apps betting can be a social sport.

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