A man on a betting site (Bet In) Most of the betting followers are now left with limited or odd sites to put their bets on following the end of action packed English Premier League. [Elvis Ogina/Standard]

The betting and gambling industry has over the last five years grown to be the biggest advertiser in the country, new data shows.

According to a new report by Reelforge - a media research firm - and TIFA Research, the industry has edged out the telecommunications sector and the fast-moving consumer goods manufacturers as the leading advertisers.

Betting firms last year accounted for 22 per cent of the Sh95 billion that media houses earned in advertising revenues, a far cry from 0.3 per cent in 2014.

The financial services sector came in second, accounting for 14 per cent, followed by food processing firms (nine per cent), the communications industry (eight per cent) and beverages (eight per cent).

Despite splashing billions to increase its visibility, the betting industry is staring at a bleak future, with the Government proposing controls on advertising.

This could possibly hurt revenues for both media houses and the betting firms since the latter rely on constant messaging to get their target audience hooked.

The Government has argued that the industry has had a negative impact on society, drawing many people, particularly the youth, to irresponsible betting.

The report showed that half of the top 10 advertisers in the country all come from the betting industry. The key players are Shabiki, Sportpesa, Tatua, Lotto and Supa 5.

“A review of advertising spends for 2018 and 2019 shows that the betting and gambling sector controls Kenya’s advertising sector. This sector’s high spends is driven by increased competition, which is manifested by a proliferation of new players into the local industry and which is deemed to be very lucrative,” said the report.