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The Betsson Group confirmed plans to expand into the Kenyan sports betting market after committing to a formal partnership with Bet High Ltd.
Media in Kenya recently reported that the Nordic sportsbook’s subsidiary, Betsafe, was named as the new shirt sponsor of KPL football clubs AFC Leopards and For Mahia. Betsson already established its presence within the EU, with several licensed online casino properties, and now it’s time for another chapter.
Launching Through Bet High
Betsafe hasn’t yet registered its license with the Kenya Betting Control Board (BCLB). Betsson, however, has since announced that Betsafe Kenya will be launched through Bet High, a fully owned subsidiary that will manage any licenses for Betsafe’s casino and sports betting arms.
Betsson has given permission for Bet High to operate in Kenya under ‘Betsafe Ventures’. The operation will be charged with servicing and managing all of Betsafe Kenya’s day-to-day business functions, such as customer support, operations, local marketing, and management.
Supporting Kenya Football
Bet High partner and public relations manager, Tom Bwana, said that their number one priority when entering the Kenyan market will be to support football in the country. Bwana added that they aim to provide fans of the two clubs with more excitement and engagement in the near future.
Betsson will fully finance the venture, providing Bet High with technical support and technology platforms. Kenyan media praised Betsson’s sponsorship of the two Nairobi football club. The move will ease Kenyan football’s financial hardships it’s suffered since the region’s clubs could no longer depend on SportsPesa for sponsorship.
27 Sportsbooks Blacklisted
Due to certain interruptions that occurred in 2019, the sports betting marketplace was suspended by the Uhuru Kenyatta government, resulting in 27 licensed sportsbooks being blacklisted. This was in relation to tax disputes with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
The KRA gave all national telecoms and licensed banks no choice but to put an end to all mobile and payment M-PESA wallet services for betting companies. This led to SportPesa’s announcement that it would pull out of the market, which all but destroyed finances in KPL football. SportsPesa had previously declared net revenues of €200 million with a workforce of 450 employees. The numbers prompted Betsafe to feel confident about entering the Kenyan market.
Improved Financial Outlook
Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is delighted that his club has found a new sponsor. He feels that having a reliable sponsor on board is necessary for the club to achieve long-term financial support. Gor Mahia has won the Kenyan Premier League for 18 times, more than any other club in Kenya. Three of those titles were won in the last three seasons.
AFC Chairman Dr Dan Shikanda offered a similar sentiment to Rachier, in that Shikanda is confident that a new sponsorship deal will help his club’s financial security. He made it clear how pleased AFC are to be able to tell fans about the deal. Shikanda added that the club believes that now their financial worries are behind them, they can concentrate on becoming Kenya’s best club. AFC Leopards have won 13 Kenyan Premier League titles.
The U.S. is Next
Not saturated with just Kenya, Betsson is also planning on entering the sports betting market in the U.S. The firm has come to an agreement with Dostal Alley Casino to launch a sportsbook early next year once regulatory approval has been received. The agreement is for 10 years, initially. Betsson sees the move as one with low risk coupled with the potential for long-term growth and sustainability. The group aims to use its name and technology to offer its customers a tailored experience through sports such as soccer, golf, and baseball.