Sportpesa back in Kenya

Betting investors and fans can proceed to place their bids under SportPesa after the High Court lifted BCLB ban on the use of that brand "Sportpesa" in the country.

Just after High Court judge Pauline Nyamweya gave the order, Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) chairman Cyrus Maina lifted the suspension on Milestone Games Limited, which was to use the SportPesa brand.

In her ruling, Judge Pauline Nyamweya instructed that the BCLB’s verdict should not be effected until the case filed by Milestone Games is heard and determined.

“The leave granted herein shall operate as a stay of execution and implementation by the respondent and the interested parties of the respondent’s decision communicated in the letters dated October 30, 2020, and October 31, 2020, of the substantive judicial review application or until further orders by this court,” she ruled.

Pevans East Africa Limited was the first user of SportPesa brand name in Kenya and had sealed it as the main gaming brand. However, BCLB withdrew its license and the name left the market.

But Milestone Games chose the same brand name after the BCLB allowed them to operate in the country in October.

The move led to the withdrawal of its license, claiming that SportPesa belongs to Pevans and therefore not available to any other firm.

In court, Milestone's lawyers Otieno Ogola and Company Advocates said the BCLB unilaterally took the extreme action without giving it a chance to explain why and how it got the name SportPesa.

“The impugned decisions were arrived at in an opaque and arbitrary manner and there is no explanation for the adverse measures that were chosen and what criteria guided the process,” court records read.

The betting regulator had banned Milestone from using the name SportPesa or its domains,, or pay bill numbers allocated by either Safaricom or Airtel to Pevans.

However, Milestone explains that Pevans does not own the SportPesa trademark. Instead, it claims, SportPesa is owned by SportPesa Global Holdings Limited, which authorised it to operate using its name.

“It is not true that the trademark SportPesa belongs to M/S Pevans East Africa Limited and this information was communicated to the respondent (BCLB). The applicant has further received confirmation that M/S Pevans East Africa Limited does not own the said trademark as alleged by the respondent from the letter,” court papers read.

The court heard that the only reason BCLB banned Milestone was because of the use of the contested name.

Milestone’s operations manager Bernard Chauro, in his responding affidavit, explained that the board issued it with a licence on October 6, 2020, and was to run until June 30, 2021.

According to Mr Bernard Chauro, Milestone was obliged to provide BCLB with, among other things, a link of all their betting websites for monitoring.

They were also required to provide all their shortcodes, pay bill numbers or any other mode of payment, deposits or withdrawals it would use for its betting business.

The judge heard that the board gave Milestone a go-ahead after finding that it had fully complied. Milestone now says the board’s turnaround was harsh, unlawful and unfair. Justice Nyamweya gave BCLB 14 days to reply. 

Safaricom has restored the Milestone company pay bill numbers on Saturday 21st November 2020.

She directed the case to be heard on January 25, 2021.


What is your say on this

  1. It's not true.. the paybill number is yet to work

  2. Sportpesa says it needs to update website APIs but its restored. Its True

  3. Im told in the next 24 hours it will be back to business. Kwani hii restoration and updating website takes long like that keeping in mind its weekend today. Let them hurry up


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