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The Kenyan sports betting market has been on an upward swing over the past few years. Before a drastic government crackdown in 2018/2019, an intervention that was later scaled down, Kenyan punters were wagering over $200 million per month with the various sports betting companies in the country.


Much of the growth has been underpinned by the digital and mobile revolution over the past two decades. Kenya’s biggest mobile carrier, Safaricom, which runs the MPESA mobile money platform, has more than 33 million subscribers. Kenyans also transacted $43 billion through mobile money accounts in 2019. All of this has created a massive opportunity for digital sports betting that is mostly done via smartphones or USSD.


The Kenyan sports betting landscape is still dominated by football betting. Kenyans are mad football fans. Every weekend, Kenyans throng to entertainment joints to catch the latest on La Liga, EPL, Bundesliga and UEFA among other top-flight football leagues including those in South America.


Football isn’t the only sport that Kenyans bet on. Kenyans are also passionate about athletics, rugby, basketball, tennis and esports. There is also a small but passionate cricket fanbase in the country. In this article, we look at the top sports that Kenyan punters bet on.


Football Betting

The passion for football in Kenya means this is where most punters wager their bets in the country. Football betting spans the whole gambit of hobbyists betting on their favourite teams and leagues to career gamblers betting on leagues across the globe.


However, the most popular soccer leagues that Kenyans bet on include EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga, La Liga and UEFA Champions League. Some punters bet on other minor football leagues including the South American leagues, US MLS, Japanese league and Middle Eastern leagues. 

 

Betting in Kenya overview and companies list
Betting in Kenya. PHOTO | GETTY

Basketball

Apart from the football craze, basketball also enjoys a religious following in Kenya. There is a competitive local league but Kenyans are mostly huge fans of the NBA. It is, therefore, no surprise that basketball is one of the most wagered sports after football by Kenyan punters.


Kenyans mostly bet on the NBA, unless there is a major basketball championship such as the World Cup or a continental championship. Kenyan punters are quite familiar with the top-flight basketball teams and star players and they analyze the betting lines and odds to bet on the hair-raising but highly rewarding NBA championships that often leave viewers on the edge of their seats. The NBA Moneyline bets are particularly popular with local punters.


Athletics

Numerous record-breaking athletes hail from Kenya, especially in the long-distance track events. Athletics events are watched throughout Kenya, including by avid sports bettors who often place money on their winning horse on sites such as Betsafe.


Kenyans mostly bet on the major athletics events such as the IAAF World Championships, marathons, Olympics and Word-Indoor Championships. Compared to edgy sports such as tennis, football and basketball, athletics presents a low-hanging fruit for Kenyan punters. It is always easy to pick winners as top-tier athletes always maintain excellent form.


Cricket

It is almost two decades since the Kenyan Cricket team pulled a major surprise at the Cricket World Cup by beating West Indies but the magic of the moment has lingered on. Cricket in Kenya may not have the cult following that it enjoys in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka but the small cricket fanbase in Kenya is quite passionate and there are a lot of punters in that community who bet on the various cricket tournaments across the world including the ODIs, World Cup, test matches and Twenty20 Internationals.

Rugby

Rugby is a sport that can justifiably be said to enjoy a cult following in Kenya. The Kenyan Sevens team is particularly popular with fans. Incredibly, Kenyans also love other rugby teams such as New Zealand’s All Blacks, South Africa’s Springboks, the US Sevens team and the Australian rugby team.


The Sevens rugby circuits present rugby fans and sports bettors with a perfect opportunity to predict, bet and win big. Apart from the circuit, Kenyan sports bettors also bet on rugby tournaments such as the Rugby Union, Six Nations and Rugby League. The odds may sometimes be low but some predictions look like sure bets and you can build your accumulators to win big!



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