Mobile phones, youth up the stakes in Kenya’s sports betting space


August 3,2018,Nairobi.A growing number of instant millionaires from sports betting and impressive internet penetration are increasingly upping the stakes for control of this multimillion industry, with the many bookmakers in Kenya constantly innovating in order to reach more customers easily and cheaply. This, to the benefit of customers who are now spoilt for choice on the kind and form of sports betting to pick.

With the adage ‘the first impression is the last impression’ ringing ever truer in this space, competition has now been stepped up in ensuring prospective customers are enticed from the minute they sign in with lucrative introductory bonuses that enhances their winning chances.

Frontrunners in the sports betting scene in the country, like Betin Kenya, for example through its Betin Kenya registration process offer customers up to 50 per cent introductory bonus. Such incentives, bookies say, while being meant to whet players’ appetite to join betting, are also a good entry point in growing stakes and giving the customers a competitive edge since they boost their first deposit.

And as the bookies look to sate this burgeoning appetite for betting and reach a wider customer base, they have now rolled out SMS based betting that relies on the USSD code, as opposed to the online platforms. To ensure that the customers join and stay, bookmakers have rolled out an array of other inducements which include free additional bonuses and free deposits through mobile money wallet transfers which saves them the charges associated with money transfers.

With the growing interest in various sports like horse racing and tennis being added to the sport betting portfolio by the various bookies there has also been the introduction of live betting services that gives customers the power to determine when and how to bet.

Numerous reports by both local and international research bodies have pointed to a shift in the way mobile phones are going to be used in coming years. This, coupled with a youthful population that is now investing heavily in betting are set to redefine betting as we know it.

A 2017 report by Geopoll posited that while there has been a notable increase in the number of millenials in Sub Saharan Africa investing in betting, Kenya leads the pack among the youth aged between 17 and 35 years with 76 per cent of those polled saying they have tried their hand in sports betting. Football betting still remains the most preferred betting option among the youth, the report further adds.