Sportpesa data shows who is betting on its platform

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi (PHOTO: FILE)
NAIROBI, KENYA: Majority of Kenyans betting on SportPesa platform are between the ages of 24-35, the company on Tuesday said as it dismisses claims of underage gamblers on its sites.

The company which is among many in the industry facing criticism on business model further stated that it does not own any betting shop but conducts its business through technology.

In a newspaper advert, the company released analytics from internet company Google that showed demographics by age of the actual platform users. People between 25-34 are the highest bettors at 59.74 per cent of the site visit.

The SportPesa traffic analysis also shows that 35-44 years old accounts for 23.46 of the site visitors while the ages of 18-24 least visit the site at 4.90 per cent.

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The total traffic according to the analysis stands at 705,813 visitors for between June 1, June 30 this year.

The company is setting records as pressure mounts on betting firms to reconsider their business models for fear of affecting underage Kenyans who are addicted to mushrooming gaming sites in the country.

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In an interview with CNN, former spokesperson for interior ministry Mwenda Njoka admitted that gaming posed a greater challenge to the nation and especially the youth.

"We have had cases of children committing suicide after losing bets," he said.

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"What is lacking is we need to have some counselling not just for the physical but for the mindset, for people who are addicted to gambling."

Mwenda noted that some youth have paid the ultimate price, as underage gambling has become a growing concern in Kenya, enabled with mobile money and easy access to the internet.

In order to contain the betting menace in the country, the government last week ordered several measures including closing mobile money and SMS short-codes run by the firms.

According to figures provided by Safaricom and betting companies, there are about 12 million active betting accounts, the majority of which are now suspended leaving their users in limbo.

The closure of the betting accounts will impact heavily on millions of Kenyans who have made betting an occupation.

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On Monday, the company said it collected Sh20 billion in revenues, made Sh9 billion in gross profit and paid Sh6.4 billion in taxes in 2018. 

Defending its activities, the betting firm further listed a number of social responsibility within the sports community and local communities.

On the socio-economic investment, the company says it invested Sh693 million in football, Sh 600 million in rugby, Sh 75million in boxing, Sh2.8million rally, Sh73 million in agriculture, environment conservation, water access, Sh57 million in education infrastructure and Sh41 million in community health development.

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