Kenyan officials have launched a major crackdown on betting companies suspending licenses of 27 of them this week.
The act has affected top betting brands like SportPesa and Betway, but there are potential implications for Kenyans.
There are reports the betting firms intend laying off some of their staff in the coming weeks.
Local media is reporting that as many as over 600 Kenyans engaged currently risk losing their jobs.
A source working with one of the betting firms told Daily Nation that “Approximately 400 employees at our call centre will be affected as well as 100 technical staff.”
The source also added that “also at risk are at least 60 marketing staff spread across the country and up to 40 managers.”
The Kenyan interior ministry in a letter to telecoms company Safaricom indicated that the betting firms affected have not met the “outstanding renewal requirements”.
The order was from the Betting Control and Licensing Board, contained in a letter dated July 10.
Safaricom says it is asking for a timeline to ensure that the estimated 12 million clients using it’s platforms have access to funds they deposited in their betting accounts.
It also asked the government to grant permission to still keep the short codes to allow people to withdraw the money.
The companies affected include top brands like SportPesa, Betin and Betway.
Others are Betpawa, Premierbet, Lucky 2 U, 1XBet, Mozzartbet, Dafabet, World Sport Bet and Atari Gaming.
The rest are Palmsbet and Bet Boss, Betyetu, Elitebet, Bungabet, Cysabet, Nestbet, Easybet, Kick Off, Millionaire Sports Bet, Kenya Sports Bet and Eastleighbet.
The betting firms have reacted strongly to the crackdown demanding a reversal.
In a statement SportPesa which is a leading betting firm in Kenya said it has met all required obligations.
— SportPesa (@SportPesa) July 13, 2019
SportPesa and Betway have global status and currently sponsor some English Premier League clubs.
Betting and gambling has become very popular across Kenya, a situation the government wants to tackle.
Companies operating betting businesses depend on client using their mobile money accounts to place bets.
Currently in Kenya telecom platforms are used to place bets through the mobile phones with users not requiring bank account.
Sports-betting has become so rampant in Kenya raking in extra cash for patrons.
The locals are however passionate about sports, and this passion is boosted by placing bets on bookies like Betway.
Many African countries are however concerned about the rate at which young people engage in betting or gambling online.
These countries have been devising ways of dealing with the problem but encouraging companies involved to restrict it to adults.