The success of sport betting in Kenya has been discussed at length including the recent introduction of the new taxes. But I think the part which is little talked about is how the use of technology has changed the whole betting industry.
Back in 2009/2010, some of my friends used to bet on which team will win a particular football match. At that point it was always about two individuals promising to pay each other if a certain outcome of the game came to be true. One could pay through actual cash or simply buying beers for the others.
But the first piece of technology that really changed the industry not only Kenya but worldwide was the internet. The use of internet has allowed sport betting companies to develop sites and apps that can be accessed from the comfort of the fans’ devices. Kenya in particular is known for the use of mobile phones to access the internet and sport betting has taken that to another level. According to communication authority of Kenya, latest report indicates that the Total data/Internet subscriptions stood at 33.3 million. The accuracy of internet users stats in Kenya is debatable. It is the number that betting companies are after and the reason why sport betting has attracted so many players in the last few years.
And Sport betting companies like Betin Kenya have sites, apps and promotion bonus code that allow Kenyans to place bets from their mobile devices. What some are calling betting on the go is the standard going forward. But the greatest technology deployed by Kenyan sport betting companies is the use of MPESA.
Back in 2016 Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore was quoted by different news organization talking about how betting in Kenya contributes to the highest traffic on MPESA. Here is what he told Bloomberg
“sports betting is using M-Pesa a lot, absolutely overtaken everyone else”
According to Techweez:
“According to the CEO the growth in transaction volumes on M-Pesa has been attributed to the growth of Sports Betting in Kenya. Sports Betting now serves as one of the largest contributors to traffic on M-Pesa.”
Simply put, the ease of putting bets online or through sms and then paying through MPESA has contributed to the high growth of betting industry in the last few years. Even the introduction of new taxes by Government on sport betting recently has not slowed down the industry despite the protest from the players.