Why Kenyan bettors are laying record figures on betting sites this year

In Summary

• While online casino games are growing in popularity, the mainstay of Kenyan betting is still focused on sports betting with football in full focus. 

• Over recent years homegrown operators such as SportPesa and Betin made the first steps into the market.  

A sports betting site
BETTING CONTROL: A sports betting site
Image: FILE

It's no secret that betting in Kenya has been big business and is still very much on the rise. According to a recent appraisal by Slotegrator, the Kenyan gambling market is worth upwards of $40 million US and it doesn't look to be stopping short there either.

While online casino games are growing in popularity, the mainstay of Kenyan betting is still focused on sports betting with football in full focus. 

At the time of writing, there are over thirty betting sites now operating in Kenya and those Kenyans interested in football definitely aren't coming up short for options of where to lay their bets.

But what exactly are the core factors driving the popularity of online betting in Kenya just recently?

One explanation is familiarity and entrenchment in Kenya itself. Over recent years homegrown operators such as SportPesa and Betin made the first steps into the market. 

Betting sites such as the aforementioned catered specifically to their home market and bred a familiarity with online betting as the first "gateway sites", quickly becoming the most popular with the greatest market share. 

Following legal rulings against the likes of SportPesa and Betin, those Kenyan players who had been introduced to online betting through such brands were left with no opportunity but to choose alternative operators. 

International betting sites such as Betway, 22Bet and many more have since sought to fill the space left by native operators and brought the weight of their global operations to the Kenyan market. 

As this review of Betway Kenya shows, sports betting sites with a large global outreach look set to bring a whole range of added functions and features to boost the profile of sports betting in Kenya. This has not only helped bring about more range and interest, but has grown a more competitive market.

As sports betting continues to be the driving force in Kenyan betting culture, football remains the fan favourite and it is no different with Kenyan players. The major European and international competitions come ahead of the country's own domestic league, with a variety of odds and options available regardless of their distant association.

While coronavirus halted many leagues globally over the course of 2020, the backlog led to a truncated finish to the season, with summer international tournaments wedged firmly in between the start of this current campaign. 

It represents a long, almost unbroken period where there has been an almost consistent spate of matches played since the summer of 2020 that looks set to continue well past AFCON 2021. 

The timeline of the last 18 months has been perhaps the longest stretch of continuous football in history with international football across the globe sandwiched between the two domestic European seasons. 

Kenyan football fans and sports betting enthusiasts not only have the choice and familiarity of betting sites pushing the profile of online betting over recent years, but the continuity of the football calendar has played its part in lining the pockets of betting companies based both inside and outside Kenya. 

The Champions League, English Premier League and other domestic European leagues are just beginning to heat up this season after a summer love affair with South America's Copa America and of course Euro 2020. 

On the horizon after the close of this season in just over a year's time are the World Cup in Qatar and of course a heavily delayed AFCON in just a few short weeks. No wonder online betting operators are looking set for a record breaking year of sports betting.