Ten new betting firms entered the local market between the end of July and this month, pointing to the growth of the gambling craze that is attracting local and foreign-owned businesses.
An official list by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) shows that the 10 are part of 28 firms that were licensed in the period, bringing the total to 99 from 71 at the end of July.
The betting craze has defied increased taxation to remain on the rise as Kenyans, majority of them hit by the high cost of living and high unemployment rate see the pastime as an avenue of making quick cash.
The new firms are Michezobet Ltd, Digiswift Communications, Gamepro Limited, Sparksmatrix Limited, and Interactive Gaming Sol. Africa, Ilot Kenya Limited and Blockdance Limited. Others are Cheza Monsta, Betlounge Limited, Sautibet Limited.
The State increased the tax on betting stakes to 12.5 percent from 7.5 percent on July 1, adding to the 20 percent withholding tax on every winning bet slip.
Besides gamblers, betting firms are taxed on the gross gaming revenue —turnover minus winnings paid out— at a rate of 15 percent and pay corporate tax on profits at a rate of 30 percent.
BCLB is pushing to have a minimum betting stake of Sh20 in draft regulations that are meant to push the addiction out of the reach of the unemployed and youth who stake as low as Sh5 in the hope of striking millions.
The firms are battling to eat into the market share of established players including Milestone Games which trades as SportPesa.
The company took the brand name after numerous court cases that characterized the exit of Pevans East Africa— the pioneer betting firm in Kenya.
Pevans East Africa was up to 2019 one of the two biggest betting firms in Kenya, alongside Betin. But the two acrimoniously exited Kenya four years ago after vicious tax wars with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).