Gambling addiction is on the rise in Kenya, reveals a recent survey report. The GeoPoll survey finds that, among sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya has the highest number of youth between the ages of 17-35 who are frequently gambling.
Kenya has the third largest gambling market in Africa, behind South Africa and Nigeria. The increase in the use of smartphones and mobile digital technology has reportedly resulted in the rise of betting practices in the region. The access and availability of tips shared via social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram have made it easier for punters to access information about betting.
The enthusiasts have been spending more time on gambling platforms and websites on their smartphones. Some have specifically bought the new phones to access gambling apps and sites only. The telecoms operators have been making lucrative returns from bookmarking and fuelling the industry further, allowing the integration of mobile money wallets, betting platforms and mobile-based gaming.
There are plenty of betting platforms such as Betway, BetPawa, mCheza, SportPesa and Betin to punt on football tournaments, occasional tennis and basketball games. Some punters use more than one gadget and place multiple bets from multiple accounts.
As of now, there is no strict regulatory framework in place to reduce exposure and solicitation of vulnerable groups, although the Betting Control and Licensing Board is regulated under a 1966 law.
Sports betting has become pervasive in Africa at large and is only getting bigger. Not only it has grasped the Kenya youth, the betting boom has also caught on in other countries like Uganda where the expansion of satellite TV and the creation of a national lottery lured many jobless. While in Nigeria, over 60 million people between the ages of 18 and 40 years have been spending up to 2 billion naira ($6.2 million) on sports betting every day.