Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Kenya

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Picture of Kenya's capital city of Nairubi. Gambling is legal and regulated in Kenya.

Guide to Gambling in Kenya

 

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya is a country located on the west coast of Africa. It shares borders with Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, and Somalia to the northeast. Kenya’s population is around 45 million citizens. Bantu and Nilotic populations constitute around 97% of the nation’s residents. Its capital and largest city is Nairobi with approximately 6,5 million in its metropolitan area. Kenya’s economy is the largest by GDP in central and east Africa. The driving force behind its economy is the export of tea and coffee.

European started to explore the interior parts of Africa in the 19th century, eventually reaching Kenya too. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate (roughly the same area as modern-day Kenya) in the late 19th century. This protectorate was transformed into a crown colony in 1920. Kenya gained its independence in 1963. Since then, the country became a member of numerous organizations and co-founded the East African Community in 1977.

Gambling in Kenya is legal since the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966.The legislation establishes a Betting Control and Licensing Board which is responsible for the licensing and regulation of all forms of gambling activities. When a license is acquired by the operator, it will expire on the 30th June next year following the date of issue. Those who operate an unlicensed gambling business could face a hefty fine, jail time, or both.* Online gambling is a state monopoly in the country, however, the only online casino (betkenya.com) in the country closed its “doors” a couple years ago. As of now, the country’s stance on online casinos is not so clear. Technically online gambling is illegal outside of the state-owned sites, but it is not known whether players are prosecuted or not if caught playing at offshore online casinos. One thing is for sure, the government does not ban foreign online casinos as of now.

 

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*Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act 1966

 

Summary:

 

Casino gambling in Kenya

 

Online casino gambling in Kenya: state monopoly

 

Land-based casino gambling is legal and regulated since the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966. There are numerous brick-and-mortar casinos operating throughout the country offering the most popular games like roulette, poker, and blackjack amongst others. Online gambling became a state monopoly in 2011 when the Betting Control and Licensing Board gave the rights to operate online gambling to Amaya Gaming Group. The company established Kenya’s first online casino, betkenya.com. Unfortunately, the website is not available anymore. Gambling in an offshore online casino counts as illegal, but players are not prosecuted and the government does not block foreign online casinos either. Hundreds of offshore online casinos accept players from Kenya.

 

 

Bingo in Kenya

 

Online bingo in Kenya: state monopoly

 

Bingo is a very popular game around the world, especially in the United States. Gambling is legal in Kenya since 1966, so is bingo. There are numerous bingo halls throughout the country where players can enjoy this fantastic game. Online gambling is a state monopoly so players from Kenya are only eligible to play bingo at a domestic online provider. However, currently, only sports betting and the lottery is available online. The government does not block foreign online casinos and players are not prosecuted playing in them.

 

 

Poker in Kenya

 

Online poker in Kenya: state monopoly

 

Poker is quite possibly the most popular casino game ever created. The main reasons behind its ever growing popularity are the constant television broadcasts, regularly held world championships, and its competitive nature. Many would argue that poker involves more skill than luck but in nature, it still counts as a form of gambling as it is mostly played in casinos. Players from Kenya can enjoy poker in the land-based casinos. Online gambling is a state monopoly but currently there aren’t any domestic websites offering poker. Players from Kenya can play poker in numerous offshore online casinos, though.

 

Sports betting in Kenya

 

Online sports betting in Kenya: state monopoly

 

Sports betting is one of the most common forms of gambling around the world. It is popular in Kenya too. Sports betting became legal in 1966. Bookmakers have to acquire proper licenses to operate. Unlicensed gambling providers can face a hefty fine, jail time, or both. Online sports betting is a state monopoly. Currently, there is only one domestic online bookmaker in the country, elitebetkenya.com. Despite sports betting being a state monopoly, the government does not block foreign websites nor they prosecute players playing in them.

 

 

Lottery in Kenya

 

Online lottery in Kenya: state monopoly

Arguably, the lottery is the most common form of gambling out there. It is safe to say that where gambling is legal there is a national lottery. The lottery (along with sports betting) is the only form of gambling available for Kenyans online. The sole lottery provider in the country at the moment is Oxygen8 East Africa Ltd. Players can participate online, via SMS, or by buying a ticket in a shop. The lottery is drawn regularly.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Kenya

 

Bitcoin gambling in Kenya: state monopoly

 

Bitcoin is a digital currency often referred to as a “cryptocurrency” first introduced in 2008. It quickly became popular worldwide as an alternative mean of payment. Bitcoin gambling appeared shortly after the inception of the currency and continues to gain popularity as more and more online casino started to specialize in it. Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon, though, so only just a handful of countries issued laws concerning it. Some countries see Bitcoin as an asset rather than a currency (like Norway or Lithuania for example). As of now, there are no specific regulations concerning Bitcoin gambling or Bitcoin in general.

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2016.02.02.

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Simon's Guide to Gambling in Kenya
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Simon's Guide to Gambling in Kenya
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An overview of gambling's legal status in Kenya.
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