Kenya has done a decent job of safeguarding its online betting industry, but the job has been very far from perfect.
The country now boasts over 100 licensed betting sites, but there are many more unregulated operators scattered across the internet.
Unfortunately, whether by design or by accident, many Kenyan players have fallen into the trap of these unlicensed sites.
For some players, they are simply not aware of the legal status of the operator. All they want is an online betting site, and consequently sign up with any site they stumble into.
There is another group of players who deliberately seek out unlicensed betting sites in order to escape Kenya’s regulatory policies.
According to the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenyan players are required to pay a 7.5% tax on all wagers, while there is also a 20% withholding tax on all winnings. Both of these combine to lower the payout should the bet be successful.
Other reasons why bettors have turned to offshore bookies include the quest for better markets, higher odds, more features and bigger bonuses.
To be fair, the fact that a betting site is not registered with the BCLB does not mean it is a bad or harmful site.
Some of these bookies have licences from renowned international organisations like the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission, and offer world-class services to their global customers (including Kenyans).
However, there is always the risk of falling into the wrong hands while searching for betting sites with no tax.
Some players have lost huge sums to shady offshore bookies that have refused to activate deposits or payout winnings, while others have fallen victim to internet fraudsters due to lack of security of the betting site.
Using a betting site often requires the bettor to submit sensitive information like personal email address, telephone number and banking details. If the site is not secure enough, such information may be ceased upon by scammers.
If any of these malpractices happens on a registered betting site, players at least have the option of complaining to the BCLB or instituting legal action against the offending bookie.
However, if the bookie is not licensed in Kenya, that option is not available. The bettor wouldn’t have access to the customer protection services that come with using a licensed site.
Hence, using a licensed betting site is very important. If you signed up on an unregistered site out of ignorance, it is not too late to close your account. Before joining any bookie, make sure you look out for the licence information. The good thing is that such information is not difficult to spot.
All licensed betting sites in Kenya are required to include these details on their home pages. Usually, the licence information can be found towards the bottom of the bookie’s home page. You can also check out trusted online betting affiliate sites like, https://mybettingsites.com/ke, who have a list of the best legal betting sites in the country.
And if you are one of those seeking unregistered betting sites in order to circumvent Kenya’s tax laws, think again about the dangers before going ahead.
In the end, the tax adds to Kenya’s revenue, which is then ploughed back into the country to improve infrastructure and standard of living of the citizens.