As the trend of betting increases, gamblers have wagered Sh620 billion in four years.

Gambling in Kenya is a menace


Bettors put Sh620.97 billion in wagers between 2018 and the previous year, demonstrating the obsession that has led to Kenya having the largest proportion of youthful gamblers in Africa.


The betting frenzy that has millions of Kenyans, both working and jobless, eyeing fast money was revealed in a study presented to the National Assembly Committee on Sports and Culture last week.

Given that the trend resists higher taxes, Kenya has the greatest proportion of youthful gamblers in Africa (76%) and they spend more on average than their counterparts elsewhere on the continent.

Gambling companies pay a plethora of taxes that have been rising over time to reduce the attraction of the Kenyan gambling industry, while players pay tax on each successful wager in addition to an additional charge per staked amount.

As to the survey, 96 percent of young gamblers in Kenya use mobile devices, and the country has the largest rate of young gamblers in Sub-Saharan Africa (76 percent). They also spend more per capita than their peers.

Kenya is now Africa's third-largest gambling industry, behind South Africa and Nigeria, with billions of shillings wagered on sports wagers. Its annual revenue is expected to reach Sh200 billion.

Despite not providing a detailed analysis of the annual stake amounts made by bettors during that time, the report does reveal that betting companies paid out Sh532.72 billion to winners.


In gross gaming income, the companies collected in Sh88.24 billion between 2018 and 2022.


In an intentional attempt to dissuade gamblers, the State taxes every wagering stake at a rate of 12.5% in addition to the 20% withholding tax on any winning wager.

In addition to taxing players, betting companies also pay corporation tax on earnings at a rate of 30%. They are taxed on gross gaming income, which is defined as turnover less wins paid out.

In an environment where unemployment is prevalent, gamblers are spending more money in the hopes of generating fast cash to cover everyday expenses.

"A male who is under 36 years old, from a low-income family, and who has completed at least secondary school is the typical gambler."

Aiming for a piece of the billions of shillings that Kenyans wager annually, betting companies are swarming the country's market.

Of the 110 betting companies that have been granted operating licences, according to the most recent listing by the Betting Control and Licencing Board, around 22 are newcomers.

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