According to statistics obtained from Safaricom and Airtel a total of 15.8 million are registered gamblers in Kenya as of 2019.Safaricom confirmed to the government that slightly over 12 million were using their MPESA service to transact on various gambling sites.
Following the crackdown on betting firms in Kenya leading to the closure of 27 paybill numbers, the number of gamblers dropped significantly to less than 7 million. However, the emergency of Shabiki and Betika jackpots kept bettors going. Currently, there are slightly above 5 million active gamblers in Kenya, that’s post Sportpesa.
Serious gambling was realized in Kenya from the year 2013 when Sportpesa was registered in the country, then came Betway, Betin and 32 other betting sites. Due to serious media campaigns and advertising, Kenyans realized gambling can be a source of income, they slowly started sinking their hard earned cash into the betting companies. The end result was disastrous. The country became broke as the owners of the companies deposited their gambling income abroad. It forced Interior CS Fred Matiangi to intervene, the government also printed new currency so as to have enough cash in circulation,
At the moment, nearly all the betting companies in Kenya are owned by Kenyans, meaning that the money will circulate within the economy.
If Sportpesa and the other 33 betting sites are allowed back,the number of gamblers is projected to hit 20 million by 2020.