Betsafe Launches Football Markets in Kenya

Betsafe, one of the biggest betting sites in the world, is looking to venture into the Kenyan gambling market. The bookmaker, which is a member of the Spanish online gaming company Betsson AB, announced sponsorship deals with two Kenyan Premier League clubs. The online gambling operator has partnered with AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia filling a major sponsorship void. The deals will be active for three consecutive seasons, starting with the 2020/21 campaign

The tie-up will see the online gambling operator’s logo appear on the clubs’ shirt. The deals are worth Ksh95m (£720k) per season, with the current league champions Gor Mahia pocketing the biggest share (Ksh55m).

The Nairobi-based clubs were previously sponsored by the local sports betting brand, SportPesa. The operator ceased its operations in Kenya last year after getting into a row with the government over tax issues. Consequently, SportPesa cancelled all its local deals due to the “uncertainty” of the regulatory environment.

Media reports in Kenya indicate that the two clubs faced serious financial trouble after SportPesa withdrew their sponsorship deal, with each seeking funds from their fans after being forced to delay player wages.

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Gor Mahia chairman, Ambrose Rachier admitted that the club, which has won the Kenyan Premier League on 18 occasions including the last three consecutive years, needed financial support. He added that he was pleased to have found a strong partner that will provide long-term financial support. Similarly, Dan Shikanda, AFC Leopards chairman said the tie-up gave them a sense of security allowing them to focus more on becoming the best football team in the country.

The African country boasted the continent’s most successful online gambling market, hosting some of the most popular betting markets in the industry before the government decided to redefine the taxation of its betting licensees and customers. SportPesa was not alone in withdrawing from the Kenyan market, as Betin shut its doors around the same time.

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