Active players: 35.880.000
Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Regulated gambling products: Sports betting, casino, lotteries, horse racing, bingo
Operator types: Licensed and unlicensed online bookmakers
Designated authority: Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB)
Kenya has had an eventful history among the vast landscapes and probably the world’s most diverse wildlife. The independence declaration signed in 1963 gave birth to the Republic of Kenya. Since then, it has grown to one of the most popular tourist destinations on the continent while developing a strong affinity for sports. Kenyans enjoy dominance in the middle long-distance running, with Eliud Kipchoge being almost a national hero for breaking the world record in Marathon.
Kenya is a cornerstone of online sports betting in Africa, ranking third in the gambling population behind Nigeria and South Africa. Betting sites in Kenya operate with minimal restrictions despite the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) aiming to tighten the rules. The recent reduction in taxes on winnings (from 20% to 7.5%) is another incentive for Kenyans to look for a legit and high-quality bookmaker.
Betting in Kenya - 5 things to know
- The legal gambling age stands at 18
- A new Gaming Bill was established in May 2019
- 80% of all bets are placed on football matches
- A 7.5% tax applies on bettors’ winnings
- Operators pay 15% on their GGR
Best Kenya betting sites
The regulated market does not stop locals from accessing international Kenya betting sites. In fact, players overwhelmingly choose to bet on them since they offer much higher odds, more markets and better bonuses than licensed bookies.
Online gambling in Kenya: The law framework
In 2019, the government passed the Gaming Bill to replace the outdated 1966 legislation. The law deemed all unlicensed gambling operators illegal, handed out licenses to local betting companies in Kenya and set the tax rates in the industry. Despite that, offshore sportsbooks have no issues offering betting services to Kenyans, and there are no reports of legal repercussions to players.
For bookmakers wanting to obtain a license, a 30% corporate tax applies for local operators and 37.5% for foreign ones. Moreover, they are subject to a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR), down from the 35% a few years back, as it hampered the budgets of bookmakers in Kenya. A provision in the Gaming Bill also stipulates that the National Gaming Authority will replace the current authority (BCLB) in the near future.
Essential information for bettors
The laws seem to prohibit unregulated betting, but that is not the case in reality. Locals only have to use a VPN (in some circumstances) and can access all betting sites in Kenya accepting registrations from the country. Looking at the numbers, most Kenyans opt for international bookies as they offer a superior overall service.
A significant change took place in July 2021 with the lowering of taxes on winnings from 20% to 7.5%. The initial amount drove several traditional Kenyan betting sites out of the market as they lost a substantial number of members, and business was simply not sustainable. Regardless of tax rates, locally licensed bookies have often become subject to players’ complaints about bet settlements and withdrawals. As a result, international sportsbooks gain more and more traction among bettors.
Legal betting sites in Kenya
The majority of betting sites that legally operate in Kenya are mainly domestic, with a few exceptions, like 22Bet. Some of the most prominent examples are Betika, Odibets, Shabiki and Mcheza. Nevertheless, there are also many foreign bookies that operate in the market and accept locals, despite the fact that they do so without a legal permit. Major international brands such as Bet365 and 888sport are among the active betting sites in Kenya. It is also worth noting that no legal action has ever been taken against them, or against the players that choose to place their bets on them due to their high odds and great promotions. The largest portion of the aforementioned bets are placed via smartphones, since Kenya ranks as the highest country in Africa in mobile penetration rates.
Non active betting sites in Kenya
Following the introduction of the new Gaming Bill, the government announced that the BCLB would suspend the licenses of several Kenyan betting sites as of July 1, 2019, due to the outstanding tax obligations they had. Major local brands that used to dominate the market, such as Betin, are among the operators whose licenses were not renewed. Currently the list also contains the names of Elitebet, Premier Bet, Bungabet and Cysabet.
How to deposit at international betting sites in Kenya
The rule that applies to most African countries also stands true for Kenya, as the range of payment methods is vast. Beginning with credit/debit cards, you can use Visa & Mastercard, while e-wallets like Skrill, Neteller & ecoPayz grow in popularity. Cryptocurrencies are also rising quickly due to speed and security traits. Remember that since most international active betting sites in Kenya do not accept KES as a currency, you will be liable to conversion fees.
You can use a local banking option like M-Pesa or Airtel Money to avoid those fees. Powered by the leading domestic telecommunication companies, Safaricom and Airtel, they are available to your mobile phone. However, the number of non locally regulated bookies in Kenya accepting them is minimal.
The future of online betting in Kenya
It’s been some time since betting in Kenya emerged as a multi-million dollar business. The government strived to regulate bookmakers to control the market, but it turned out to be a tall order. Since it lacked the means or the will to block access to unlicensed bookies, locals flocked there to benefit from the much better features.
Even after the latest amendment, the tide is unlikely to change. Despite the tax on winnings being reduced to more than half, Kenyans do not trust locally licensed sportsbooks. The main reason is the considerable negative feedback from members. Your best guess is to join an international betting site in Kenya for the foreseeable future.
The complete list of bookmakers in Kenya
You might feel baffled about which Kenya betting site to choose since the options are quite extensive. Our team has shortlisted the best bookies offering top prices, many selections and the best promotions.
The gambling legislation goes back to 1966 in Kenya and was revamped in 2019. It stipulates that only licensed betting sites Kenya has to offer can operate and lays out the legal environment of gambling. Nevertheless, players are not restricted or penalized for playing in non locally licensed sportsbooks.
You can find many top options, all laid out in our list and adhering to our high standards. If you prefer a quick shot, pick 22Bet, N1Bet, and Betwinner, as they are all excellent sportsbooks with a large pool of long-term members.
Online bookmakers with a BCLB license do not enjoy the best reputation among Kenyans. There have been several complaints from players regarding the legitimacy of them, so you better go for international betting sites in Kenya. Since we have reviewed them in reliability, you can see how high they score.
There are two paths in deposit methods. You can go for a credit/debit card or wallet widely available but subject to conversion fees. Or you can go for a local option like M-Pesa or Airtel Money, accessible on your phone but with limited acceptance in international bookies.