Where can we bet securely and which are the leading bookmakers in Kenya?
Look at our table with the top 3 bookmakers in Kenya. They have different sports and betting services. Learn more about that. Find out details for their welcome bonus amount, percentage of sign up offer, minimum deposit and odds.
Kenya has one of the highest rates of gambling in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it is not hard to see why. With a number of both local and international bookies offering their services, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Punters have safe access to a diverse market of both local and international betting, and a strong mobile betting scene that makes it easier than ever to bet.
Interesting Facts about Betting in Kenya
- Sports betting is the most common form of betting in the country
- Kenya has the largest population of gambling youth in Sub-Saharan Africa
- The betting industry in Kenya is also the third-largest on the African continent
- The largest gambling hub in the country is in Nairobi, which also happens to be the capital
- Currently, only three cities offer physical bookmakers services, the rest of the country must bet online
- The government has placed a 20% tax on all winnings, in an attempt to stop problem gambling
Gambling Legislation and Laws
Currently, all forms of gambling are legal within Kenya, both online and offline. Gambling laws in Kenya were introduced in 1966, with the Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act. This legalized sports betting, casinos, and lotteries. The gambling industry is currently overseen by the Betting Control and Licensing Board, who are responsible for maintaining players safety, and for issuing licenses to vendors.
These laws were made before the advent of online gambling, and although it is not considered illegal, there is a push to overhaul the current legislation, with the 2019 Gaming Bill. If passed, this would help to regulate the online market, which currently does not have strict enforcement.
Competition between Operators
Initially, the only online betting site that was licensed to operate online for a Kenyan market was BetKenya, creating a state monopoly. That site has since been shut down, but the market has opened up, and there are now 30 different licensed sites that offer their services, with many more that offer their services without a license. So there is no monopoly on the online betting market.
Bonuses from Kenyan Bookmakers
Kenyan bookmakers offer their punters a number of different bonuses and promotions to encourage increased rates of usership. These bonuses can vary, and bettors should spend time checking sites in order to find ones that they can gain the most from.
Almost all sites will offer some kind of welcome bonus. This can be specific to sports betting or casino betting, or might just be a general reward for signing up. Punters should note that although many of the welcome bonuses appear incredibly generous, there are often hefty turnover requirements before punters can claim and withdraw any winnings.
Sites will also offer a number of different bonuses for their existing customers. These are frequently changing, and there are opportunities to receive multiple bonuses in short periods of time. These are generally more varied than the welcome bonuses, and if punters are interested in making the most of bonuses, they should look for a site that offers promotions tailored to their betting interests.
Betting Features and Options in the Kenyan Bookmakers
The competition in the online Kenyan betting market is fierce, and vendors are constantly looking to entice punters with new and exciting features. Some of these that are currently on offer from most major sites include:
Available Payment Methods
There are a number of safe and secure methods to deposit and withdraw money from Kenyan betting sites. Unfortunately, unlike most countries, Kenya does not allow payments to be made via bank cards for all of their sites. Alternatively, punters turn to e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill. Although it can be frustrating to load the money into your e-wallet, and then make a deposit into your betting account, the transaction from e-wallet to betting site is almost instantaneous and does not invoke a fee. Similarly, withdrawals are also free and immediate.
Alternatively, many Kenyans are turning to mobile-based payment methods in order to deposit and withdraw. The most popular mobile payment service is M-Pesa, which sends a code to the users mobile phone, and by typing that into the app, users can withdraw or deposit money from their bank account. While not all sites currently accept these forms of payment, many users find it convenient, so it may be worth looking for a site that does accept mobile payment services.
The currency that is used in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling (KES). While this is an accepted form of currency for local betting sites, many international sites may require users to convert their currency before being able to place a bet. Most sites will offer this service. However, punters need to be aware of high conversion fees.
Mobile Betting in Kenya
Mobile betting is becoming increasingly popular among punters, who like the fact that they can bet wherever, and whenever they choose. Most larger international betting sites offer free apps to download on Apple and Android devices, making them easily accessible for everyone.
While some local sites also offer mobile apps, many can also be accessed using the mobile version of the desktop site. This does not require any downloading and is an altered version of the larger site that can be easier to navigate on a device, while still offering all of the services.
There are also some sites that offer bonuses simply for downloading their mobile app or using it to place bets. If punters are going to bet using mobile apps, then they might like to look for a bookmaker that will reward them for doing so.
Online casinos are legal to play on in Kenya, and there are a number of options for punters. Most sites offer both sports betting and casino games, so there is something for everyone. Punters can choose from a range of different casino games, such as live casinos, slots, poker, and other card games.
Leading sports for betting in Kenya
Kenya is known for its prowess in sports, specifically in athletics. As sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the country, here are some of the biggest markets for punters:
Football is the most popular sport in the world, and because Kenyans bet on a lot of international sites, there are a number of different football leagues to bet on. As a result of this international interest, football has become huge to bet on in Kenya too. Due to the range of local bookmakers, there are plenty of opportunities for Kenyans to bet on local teams, as well as larger international ones.
Undeniably, this is where Kenya shines at an international level. The country is known to produce a number of amazing runners, and punters will bet on their fellow Kenyans when it comes to international championships. The most popular athletics event is the Olympics, which is extensively covered by all betting sites, but there are also a number of different competitions that are both local and international, that Kenyans can bet on.
Basketball is one of the three most popular sports to bet on within the country, and Kenyans are avid followers of the NBA. This sport (and this league specifically) are covered extensively on a number of different betting platforms, but so too are local teams and championships.
Volleyball is also a sport that Kenyans excel at, specifically their womens’ teams. The national women’s volleyball team has been one of the best on the African continent for decades and continues to achieve new highs. The sport and a range of teams are covered extensively on local and larger international sites.
Rugby union is popular within Kenya, just as it is in many of the African countries. While Kenya is relatively good at a state and national level, their teams really excel at rugby sevens. The country participates in a number of international tournaments and games, and there are a number of sites that offer extensive betting options on rugby within the country.
The Profile of a Kenyan Bettor
Much like many other countries, betting is more popular among younger males, compared to any other demographic. Betting increased in popularity alongside the use of mobile phones and the internet as modes of betting. This is due to the fact that although gambling is legal in the country, there are still relatively few physical sites that offer legal betting opportunities, but betting online is accessible to everyone. Over 80% of online gamblers used the site Sportpesa, but seeing as that has very recently had its license expire with no expectation of receiving a new one, bettors have had to branch out in terms of where they choose to bet from now.
Is online gambling legal in Kenya?
Yes, online gambling is legal in Kenya. Punters can access a number of sites that are licensed to offer services to Kenyans and can choose from a range of different gambling options, such as sports betting, casinos, lotteries and bingo.
Are there any taxes for Kenyan players on their winnings?
Currently, the situation is unclear in regards to tax on gambling winnings. The Kenyan government imposed a 20% tax on all gambling winnings; however, this was put on hold when Sportpesa took the government to court on a number of charges. As it stands, punters are still taxed 10% on any bet they place, regardless of the outcomes.
How to find the lowest betting margin sites in Kenya?
Often bookmakers will add a margin on bets, which is how they make their profits. While there is no concrete way to find the site with the lowest betting margins in Kenya (as this can change as different sites enter and exit the market), you can tell what the margins are for yourself. All you need to do is add up all the different probabilities of the outcomes, and if they equal over 100%, this indicates that the bookmaker has a margin. The greater the total sum, the greater the margin.
Are there Kenyan betting sites with free bets?
Yes, there are a number of different local and international betting sites that offer free bets to punters. These free bets are often welcome bonuses, but there are some sites that also offer them as ongoing promotions for existing customers. If Kenyans are looking for free bets, they should check the promotion pages of betting sites, and see what is available, and what are the terms and conditions associated with the specific promotions.
Are there any betting restrictions for players in Kenya?
In terms of the types of bets that are available for Kenyans, there are no restrictions – they have full access to a range of different betting types and markets. Perhaps the only restriction they face is that international sites very rarely offer their services in Swahili, one of the official languages of the country. So if players are not comfortable playing in English, that is a potential restriction.
Another restriction for Kenyan players is that many international sites will not offer bets in KES. Punters need to convert their money, which can incur large conversion fees.
Are international betting sites better than local ones?
Ultimately, it comes down to preference to determine whether a local or international betting site is better. Local sites will generally offer a more extensive range of local betting options naturally, but they may lack the size to provide bets on international games. Conversely, international sites are generally larger and have more options overall, but fewer bets on local events. Local sites are more likely to accept KES, but may not be as safe or as reputable as older, larger international options. There is no right or wrong answer, provided that punters are using sites that are licensed, and secure.
Are bet exchanges legal in Kenya?
Yes, there are a number of licensed bet exchanges such as Betfair, that are licensed to offer their services to Kenyans. Bet exchanges often have better odds than traditional bookmakers, because punters bet against each other, not the site.
Betting in Kenya is a common pastime, and there are a number of services to meet the local demand. Although the laws are somewhat outdated, especially when it comes to online gambling, players can enjoy the relative freedom to bet where they want, and on whatever they want.
One thing that should be noted is that the country appears to have a large number of problem gamblers, especially when it comes to younger players. The government has publicly stated that they are attempting to control this, and only time will tell whether this creates changes that are restricting for a lot of players.