Most Popular Sports Among Kenyan Bettors
We know that some of you prefer to specialise in one or two sports. And, as you are probably aware of, some bookies focus more on some sports than others, resulting in different qualities of odds.
According to our data, the most popular sports for betting in Kenya are football and basketball.
The best football betting site in Kenya
Betwinner Africa. The choice was not easy to make due to the heavy competition when it comes to football betting in Kenya, but this bookie won thanks to their low margins on football wagers. Combined with their betting exchange, live streaming feature, and excellent in-play section, football fans will find a great home on this sportsbook.
Welcome Offer 50% up to 5000 KSh
The best basketball betting site in Kenya
22bet Africa. Decent odds on basketball wagers are difficult to find outside the US. However, with low margins and an amazing selection of leagues and matches, 22bet is easily the best online sportsbook in Kenya for basketball fans.
Welcome Offer 100% up to 15.000 KES
History of Sports Betting in Kenya
Kenya first adopted the Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act way back in 1966. This is one of the first pieces of legislation in the entire African continent that formally addressed the regulation of gambling. Gambling remained a legitimate, taxable business for decades after that. Gambling’s legality, combined with Kenya’s cultural favour towards sports, proved to be fertile soil for sports betting.
However, online gambling in Kenya had a few obstacles to overcome before it took off. Firstly, while it is great Kenya had clear gambling regulations back in 1966, it doesn’t fully apply to remote wagering. This law simply didn’t account for the internet, or the global market we live in today.
Regulative bodies eventually caught up with it all, but that wasn’t the only issue. For starters, even though Kenya had one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in Africa in the early 2000s, it was still nowhere near the level of, say, western countries. Internet and mobile data charges were unreasonably expensive, and most people couldn’t afford them – not to mention personal computers, which were not nearly as widespread as today. As such, most Kenyans preferred to take their wagers to traditional, brick-and-mortar betting shops.
After a while, though, Internet cafes started popping up all over the county, which is the time most Kenyans saw the advantages of online betting. Around 2012, online punting was truly starting to take off. In 2014, SportPesa opened its doors as the first fully Kenyan online bookmaker, and this form of entertainment reached never before seen heights.
By 2016, mobile devices started becoming affordable enough for the majority of the Kenyan population. As a result, mobile betting in Kenya saw a boom of its own.
However, things took a turn for the worse for Kenyan online bookies in 2019. SportPesa, along with several other gambling companies in Kenya was forced to shut down due to issues with taxes. This was an unfortunate development for both the bookies and millions of punters, who were suddenly unable to withdraw their funds.
However, there are still plenty of good options among betting sites still operating in Kenya. For example, any of the sites we listed above would be a solid choice.
Complete list of Bookmakers in Kenya
Welcome Offer 100% up to 15.000 KES
Welcome Offer 50% up to 5000 KSh
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Welcome Offer 100% up to $30
Welcome Offer 200% up to 10.000 KSh
Great betting site in Kenya
Daily bonuses and freespins
Bet365 Kenya: One of the biggest and most respected brand names in the industry worldwide, Bet365 is also accepting Kenyan customers. Not a lot needs to be said for a bookmaker of this size and renown, but rest assured: Bet365 offers everything you would want from a Kenyan betting site, with very few downsides.
22bet Kenya: An international giant in the world of online gambling, 22Bet recently acquired a licence to operate in Kenya. Famed for their ability to have something for everyone, 22Bet is the go-to bookie for millions of customers across the globe.
Betwinner Kenya: Founded only recently in 2018, this bookie took the world of punting by storm. They are a fresh, new bookmaker in Kenya focused on innovation and always improving to fit their customers’ needs. An excellent choice, especially if you want to bet in-play.
Bwin Kenya: Bwin has been a part of the online betting scene for as long as it has existed. They are one of the first bookies to truly become big purely from online betting, and they continue this excellent service to this day. In 2016, Bwin started rapidly expanding across the globe, and it didn’t take long for them to come to Kenya as well.
888sport Kenya: One of the best overall gambling platforms in Kenya. Not only is it a great sportsbook, but 888Sport is a great place for online casinos and other forms of gambling. A fan favourite of punters worldwide, 888Sports is a great home for both beginners and veterans.
Online Sports Betting in Kenya: Tax and Legal Terms
The first thing we have to ask ourselves before going any further would be – is online sports betting legal in Kenya? Based on what we already talked about in terms of legislation and regulation, we’re guessing you already know the answer. Online gambling, including sports wagers, is legal in Kenya, although heavily taxed and regulated.
Here is what Kenyan bettors need to know about the gambling laws:
- You must be over the age of 18 to participate in any form of gambling in Kenya.
- All gambling operators in the country must be licenced by the Betting Control and Licensing Board. Betting with unlicensed bookies is illegal.
- There is a 20% withholding tax on all wins from betting.
First of all, let’s talk about the tax. For one reason or another, the Kenyan government has taken a hard stance towards online bookmaking service providers in the last few years. As a result, many bookies stopped accepting Kenyan customers, as mentioned above. Kenyan bookmakers in 2020 are subject to a 5-level taxing scheme which has seriously hurt their profits.
For you, the customer, the biggest concern is the withholding tax. Essentially, it means that any amount won through betting will attract a 20% deduction that goes to the government. For example, if you were to win 1000 shillings, you would only be paid out 800 by the bookmaker, and the rest would have to be paid to the authorities. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it yourself as it is directly cut from you returns. Still, profiting from online betting in Kenya is much less viable than it was 2 years ago.
As far as Kenyan bookmaker licences go, the law is not as heavily enforced as you might expect. While there are more than 30 licenced Kenyan bookmakers still legally operating, there are also dozens of off-shore bookies. These are based outside the country and do not pay any tax, except the local ones from the state they are based in. It might sound bad at first glance, but we have found no reports of any customers being punished for using offshore bookmakers. As such, as long as the betting site has a good reputation and holds proper licences in their country of origin, you have no reason to worry about your money.
Deposit and Withdrawal options at Kenyan sportsbooks
When forming our list of top Kenyan bookies, we took special note of how willing they are to accommodate Kenyan customers specifically. One of the ways betting companies do this is by allowing punters to wager using their local currencies, or their local payment options.
As far as the currency goes, the Kenyan shilling is still not as widespread as we might want it to be, sadly. Some bookies allow for payments in shillings, some do not. We’ve noted this factor for each of our top picks above. Most notably, we would like to point out 22Bet and Betwinner as excellent examples of bookmakers which accept Kenyan shillings.
According to our research, the most popular forms of payment among Kenyan punters are card payments and M-Pesa. Card payments are an option with pretty much every respectable betting site in Kenya. However, a lot of Keyan players reportedly have issues with getting their cards accepted by bookies. If this applies to you, you may have to use a different method, such as M-Pesa.
M-Pesa is by far the best payment option for Kenyan bettors. It allows for quick, safe, and easy transactions. Betting sites such as 22Bet and Betwinnter accept M-Pesa, making them great choices if you prefer this banking method.
Best Betting Site in Kenya
If we were to choose just one bookmaker that operates in Kenya that would be, hands down, 22bet Kenya.