Kenya: Gaming Firms Lament Alleged Smear Campaigns

11 January 2021

The tussle for dominance in the betting industry in Kenya has intensified in recent times with foreign gaming firms accusing their local counterparts of damaging their brands in a bid to gain undue advantage.

As the industry continues to thrive amid strict regulations from the government, the fear is that a number of local firms are ready to gain advantage through whichever means necessary.

"The most recent example is when SportPesa left the market in 2019. We witnessed a careful smear campaign before that happened. There were accusations its foreign owners were involved in shady practices but we never saw them taken to court," a stakeholder in the betting industry told Nairobi News off the record.

This smear campaign is mostly propagated through social media, mostly targeting foreign owners with unsubstantiated accusations.

Kenya has about 50 registered betting companies at the moment. These have contributed to the economy through payment of taxes estimated at billions of shillings each year.

The firms have also contributed to the coronavirus pandemic kitty, health sector, and other corporate social responsibility aspects including sponsoring Kenyan Premier League clubs and supporting grassroots sports.

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