Kenya: Noose Tightens on Betting Firms as CBK Halts Banking Services

The banking regulator has hit the last nail in the coffin, marking the end of business for some 27 betting and gaming companies whose licences have not been renewed.

The firms had been living on borrowed time after the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) declined to renew their operating licences.

In a statement to banks yesterday, the Central Bank of Kenya notified them of BCLB's failure to renew their permit for the July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2020, period.

"This is to bring to your attention that the BCLB has not renewed the operating licences of certain bookmakers and lottery operators for the period July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2020. Please find attached, the list of entities whose licences have not been renewed for your information," read the statement from CBK.

With no permits, the 27 betting and gaming companies are illegally operating in the country and will not be allowed to enjoy banking services, which is a critical component in their operations.

On Wednesday last week, the State ordered telcos to shut down the paybill numbers and short codes of the 27 companies, whose licences are yet to be renewed.

The order by the BCLB, contained in a letter dated July 10, effectively shut down a multibillion-shilling industry that has been on a roll. The crippling of the firms has left about 600 jobs at stake as most consider laying off their workers.

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