Expert tips for choosing safe and reliable online casino in Kenya

In Summary

• Eastern Africa, particularly Kenya, has seen a sharp rise in new online casinos accessing that digital landscape.

• Land-based and online casino gaming in Kenya may not be as developed as an industry as, say, textile, horticulture, or oil refining, but it's getting there.

A user playing poker online
Image: /COURTESY

Online casino and sports gambling have spread like a wildfire over the last year as remote gaming - and pretty much all social activity - suddenly became the new norm.

Now with the global pandemic somewhat in the rearview mirror, online gaming still shows no signs of decline. If anything, it is flourishing and is steadily conquering new lands. Africa has emerged as a particularly attractive place where online casino operators are attempting to sate the appetite of tens of thousands of avid punters.

Eastern Africa, particularly Kenya, has seen a sharp rise in new online casinos accessing that digital landscape. If you are from Kenya, or are located in Kenya, and are searching for an online casino that will meet and keep meeting your needs, read on.

The following review will broadly explore online casino gaming in Kenya, the legality of internet casinos, and culminate with a list of the overall best online casinos available to players in Kenya and help you find a safe and secure one.

Online Gaming in Kenya - an Overview

With a population of well over 1 billion, Africa is the second most populous continent on the planet. The vast majority of countries in Africa already have legal and regulated online sports betting markets, with sports betting being the continent's number one point of interest.

With a population of over 52 million, Kenya is the biggest and fastest-growing economies in East Africa. Online casino gaming, while not as popular as sports betting, significantly contributes to the country's economy.

Land-based and online casino gaming in Kenya may not be as developed as an industry as, say, textile, horticulture, or oil refining, but it's getting there.

It's still, however, a market accumulating tens of millions of dollars every year, and that has increased the need for more regulations and laws.

Kenyan authorities have introduced or implemented many laws to regulate real money online casinos over the past years. However, there are still certain grey areas when it comes to the legality of online casino sites.

With our review, we hope to provide you with the basics regarding gambling laws in Kenya so that you can play knowing you are 100 per cent safe.

Outline of Online Casino Gambling Laws in Kenya

As we mentioned, Kenya has a fast-growing online gaming market and currently dozens of sites allowing play for real money.

The first gambling laws in Kenya were introduced back in the mid-1960s, several years after the country gained independence. But while enough for the time, decades later, more laws have been mandated to regulate the rapidly expanding online casino and sports betting markets in Kenya.

In 1966, Kenya introduced the “Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act,” an outdated law that had not been properly amended to address online gaming for decades.

Then in 2013, authorities implemented one of the only laws to regulate online sports betting.

However, the law predominantly concerned online and land-based sports betting while online casino games remaining with a big question mark.

However, with high taxes on winnings, the Kenyan government has largely allowed residents to play online casino games.

All gambling - land-based and online casinos and sportsbooks - in Kenya is overseen by the Betting Control and Licensing Board. In 2019, lawmakers unveiled another bill aimed at providing local licenses to online gaming sites.

However, as of 2021, the bill's status is unclear. That doesn't mean online casino gaming is illegal. In fact, under current Kenyan law online gaming is permitted, so you can sign up to any regulated site that operates from abroad.

Criteria for Choosing the Best and Safest Online Casinos in Kenya

One of the goals of our review is to help you and all interested punters in Kenya distinguish between good, top, and shady online casinos. To that end, we have listed essential criteria you should heed so you can play at a site that is fun and, more importantly, safe.

With our list of criteria, you will be able to easily filter out all undesirable sites, which will only leave you with a list of the top online casino operators to choose from.

Security

There are several individual criteria by which you can determine the safety and security of an online casino website.

The legitimacy of the site comes first and a license is the best indicator of a secure site. Licenses can be issued by local authorities, top operators usually receive them from a handful of established regulatory bodies. Some of these are the Malta Gaming Authority in Malta, the government of Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association, the Curacao Gaming Control Board, and the Gambling Commission in the UK.

If you want to see if a casino is licensed, scroll down to the bottom of the site and look for the proper license stamp. Some sites may even have two or even more licenses, making them twice as safe.

Also, in the address bar, check for the padlock symbol at the beginning of the bar. If you see a small grey triangle with an exclamation mark instead of the padlock (which indicates a secure connection) we recommend that you jump ship immediately.

Customer Service

Efficient customer support is one of the ways you can tell an online casino takes its business seriously. When you first visit the site, look for 'contact' or 'support' links - which are usually at the bottom  - and see how you can get in touch with their support team. Some of the biggest casino operators will always have at least two mediums, including email and live chat, while others could also include phone contact.

Another way to measure customer service is how quickly and effectively they manage queries and complaints.

We saved you the trouble of checking this yourself by thoroughly examining the support service of every site. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it and you can contact each site personally to ensure their customer service is up to the mark.

Bonuses and Promotions

Whichever online casino you choose you are bound to be offered at least one bonus.

A site that offers a high-priced bonus i.e. one that has stiff and onerous wagering requirements, is not one you want to sign up to. Tons of online casinos are often masquerading behind attractive free spins and deposit bonuses to lure players. Our advice to you is, don't look at the value of the bonus first, but rather its terms and conditions. If you have a bonus of 100% match on a deposit up to $500, but you need to wager the deposit plus bonus amounts, say, 70 or 80 times, is that bonus worth it? We bet it isn't but that's for you to decide.

The point being, don't rush to claim any bonus before you examine what the bonus entails.

Mobile Gaming

The gambling industry in Kenya was worth at least $50 million in 2020.

A large part of that annual revenue stream comes from mobile online casino gaming, and statistics have shown that the vast majority of players are young males, often located in rural regions away from major metropolises, who own smartphones and have internet access. In other words, whether in Kenya or elsewhere, most of the profits online casino operators make come from mobile gaming.  Even in the poorest of countries, smartphones have and continue to become increasingly available and affordable. And Kenya is far from being Africa's poorest country.

For that reason, when we’re composing our list of the best online casinos, we did so keeping in mind that Kenyan players would appreciate sites with premium mobile platforms.

Games and Bonuses

The types of games and promotions available on the sites below are pretty much the same for players from all countries who have access to the site, including players from Kenya.

Our recommended platforms are noted for having extensive sportsbooks and colourful casino games galleries.  If you are a fan of classic card and table games such as blackjack, baccarat, (video) poker, or roulette, you'll find the choice at each of the listed sites more than gratifying. There are also dozens of different variations of each game, including a live casino section at each site.

Concerning online slots, collectively, our listed sites have thousands of slot games, including progressive jackpot slots, 3, 5, or 6-reel slots, Megaways, classic slots, etc.

As far as bonuses are concerned, offers like free spins, separate welcome bonus funds, or a combination of both, are commonplace. Some of the sites also have various promotional tournaments where daily prizes and cash rewards can be won. Each bonus comes with fair terms and wagering requirements.

How Safe are Online Casinos in Kenya?

Today, you can find dozens, if not hundreds of gambling sites that allow you to play for real money, but are all of them safe? The obvious answer is no, not all sites are safe.

The advent of new technologies, while accelerating the rise of online gaming, has also opened the doors to various risks of fraud, scams, and other illicit activities like money laundering. However, top online casino sites leverage these technologies to make their sites full proof.

The safety of an online casino mostly depends on the operator itself, as well as on their respective regulators. The goal of our analysis is to aid you in your search for a highly secure site, so rest assured that each operator on our final list meets the highest safety standards.

Brick and mortar and online casinos and sportsbooks are generally considered safe in Kenya, thanks to the work of the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The objective of the department is to make players and businesses not only feel, but be safe. While still struggling to get a firm grip on all gambling operations, the BCLB has made significant headway towards keeping casino and sports gaming as fair and regulated as possible.

Apart from a blessing from the BCLB, online gaming sites in Kenya are also approved and audited by the London-based e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA). This agency has been providing safety and fairness standards for online gaming sites since 2003 and also monitors many online casinos operating in Kenya.

Tips For Playing Safely at Online Casinos in Kenya

If you wish to take up online gaming but have cold feet, knowing how liable players are to inequities, you require proper guidance. Below are a few useful tips on how you can stay safe playing real money casino games.

First, there are several advanced steps you can take.

Checking for a license should be a priority, so make sure you do a quick search to ensure the site is licensed and regulated. Second, you can read reviews, like his one, or even better, check impressions from customers at various blogs and online forums. However, remember to not take everything at face value given that some criticism could be unwarranted, and some praise exaggerated.

Once your check is complete and you log in, take small steps and deposit a small amount of money until you're sure the games are fair and the payouts quick.

Always consult with customer support when you encounter an issue, no matter how harmless it seems, and avoid claim bonuses with strict wagering requirements.

We also advise that you don't be arbitrary in your choice of games. Always pick games powered by major providers, such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Yggdrasil, Playson, RealTime Gaming, Red Tiger, Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play and Xpro Gaming

Regarding slots, make sure the game has a high return to player (RTP) rate and is low or medium volatility. With low/medium volatility games you get to win often but small, and a higher RTP indicates that even when you lose, at least 90% of your money spent will be returned over time.

Also, pick a site with a proper 'Responsible Gambling' policy so that you can stop playing at your convenience if you believe gambling is becoming a negative influence.

Top Payment Methods at Online Casinos in Kenya

For many new gaming platforms, banking is a slope on which they usually slip, failing to provide either security and/or choice of payment options to players from different countries, like Kenya. Players from Kenya still have a rather limited choice of online payment methods, particularly when paying for online casino services.

Luckily, players in Kenya have the mobile payment service M-Pesa, which allows them to easily store, deposit, and withdraw money online. M-Pesa is one of Kenya's most widely used services for making online payments and has come particularly useful to those who gamble online.

Apart from M-Pesa, Kenyan players may also use certain credit or debit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, and Maestro, or wire transfers through a bank account.

E-Wallets

Besides M-Pesa and debit/credit cards, some Kenyan online gambling sites allow payments made using some of the popular e-wallets. The most popular e-wallet in Kenya is Skrill - one of the oldest and safest e-wallets out there. Based on our research, the top Kenyan online casinos accept payments made using Skrill, and this is a particularly popular option because it provides fast transactions and there are rarely any fees attached to them.

Another popular e-wallet in Kenya is PayPal. Just like Skrill, PayPal is among the safest and most reliable e-wallets available for all kinds of money transactions, including online casino gambling. The PayPal services are also available through mobile banking in Kenya, which means that even mobile players can utilize this option and make deposits and withdrawals on the go.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are yet to be approved for mass use by the major governments of the world. Yet, despite their dubious status as a decentralized payment method, they continue to be widely used to pay for various online services. They are fast, safe, guarantee privacy, and there are no third-party services slowing down the process.

The use of cryptocurrencies in Kenya, while still severely restricted by their central bank, has and continues to gain traction. And, though extremely rare, some Kenyans use available cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to play at online casinos.

We recommend the use of cryptocurrencies only by those who have at least some experience in the process of buying, storing, and mining crypto. Some of the casino sites on our list accept several cryptocurrencies for depositing and withdrawing funds. If you're a seasoned punter in Kenya who knows the ins and outs of buying and using crypto, we strongly recommend it as

your payment method. Just note, the Kenyan government and central bank have unclear rules about online gaming and even more ambiguous laws about using cryptocurrencies. So, when it comes to using crypto to gamble online, it's best you ask around to see what is and isn't allowed and whether using crypto for online gambling is even possible.

Five of the Best Online Casinos in Kenya

Below is a list of five of the top online casinos that legally operate in Kenya:

Spinit Casino - great for playing online slots; fully licensed and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission; welcome bonus includes 100% match on your first deposit up to $200 + 200 Free Spins on Starburst;

Mansion Casino - established casino site; licensed by the Gibraltar government and the UKGC; welcome bonus includes 100% up to $500, and a high-roller welcome bonus of 50% on any deposit above $1,000;

888 Casino - real money casino noted online sportsbook and casino site, 888 Casino is licensed by the UKGC, the Govt. of Gibraltar, and the Malta Gaming Authority; welcome bonus includes 100% up to €140;

Casino.com - a favourite of lovers of all things casino and a subsidiary of Mansion Casino, Casino.com is licensed by the Gibraltar Licensing Authority; welcome package includes  100% extra up to $400, along with a further 180 free spins!

Casino Cruise - Casino Cruise, licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, has an all-encompassing casino gallery and multiple promotions, including a welcome package of up to $1000  + 200 Free Spins your first four deposits to be used on a wide variety of slot games, table games, and speciality games;

Is Online Gambling in Kenya Legal?

Laws about gambling in Kenya are somewhat vague, but casino and sports betting are largely tolerated and online casinos are allowed to operate so long as they are regulated by the  Betting Control and Licensing Board. For you to gamble, you need to be at least 18 years of age.

What Are the Best Real Money Online Casinos in Kenya?

Multiple online casino sites are permitted to provide their services to players in Kenya, including some of the top online casino operators. To see some of the sites we're referring to, check our list of 5 top casino sites in Kenya above.

Are Online Casino Sites in Kenya Legit?

Yes. Despite the legality of sites in Kenya somewhat in question, many casino sites are licensed by other third-party agencies such as the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority.

Can I Win Real Money Playing at Online Casinos?

Yes, each of the sites on our list is a real money casino. Of course, some games, particularly slots, can be played in a fun mode, and you can use any available no deposit funds or free spins to play for free and still score real money wins.

What Types of Bonuses Can I Get at Online Casinos in Kenya?

Each of the five sites has at least two promotions at any given time. Some have multiple welcome bonuses for both their casino games and sportsbooks. Some have a mixture of welcome and reload promotions, free spins, no deposit offers, etc.

Which Kenyan Online Casino is Best for Online Slots?

Each site we've named includes a rich slots menu with hundreds of titles from all the world's leading developers. But Spinit and Casino.com are likely the two best on our list when it comes to playing slots.

What Casino Games Can I play on Kenyan Online Casinos?

Online blackjack, roulette, baccarat, video poker, scratch cards, bingo, live dealer games, Keno, progressive jackpot slots - these are merely a brief highlight of some of the games you will be able to find at the top online casinos in Kenya.

What Online Casino in Kenya Has the Best Payment Methods?

The options to deposit and withdraw money from an account at an online casino in Kenya are limited. Players can use either credit or debit cards, or bank transfers, or rely on local services, such as the mobile-friendly M-PESA.