SportPesa says it does not have under-age bettors

By Odero Charles: Tuesday, July 16th 2019 at 12:34 GMT +3 | Football
Sportpesa Mega jackpot winners Gordon Ogada and Samuel Abisai. [Photo/standardmedia.co.ke]

In a newspaper advert dated Tuesday, 16th, citing Google Analytics, SportPesa says most of its bettors on its platform are between the ages of 25 and 24.

The company which is among the 27 in the industry whose licences the government has refused to renew for tax compliance and flouting regulations says it does not own any betting shop but conducts its business on-line.

The analytics quoted by the company show that people aged between 25 and 34 years are the highest bettors at 59.74 per cent of the site visits.

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

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

Pressure has been mounting 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.

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

Mwenda noted that some youths had paid the ultimate price as underage gambling becomes a growing concern in Kenya because of mobile money technology and easy access to the internet.

In order to contain the betting menace in the country, the government last week ordered mobile telephony operators, Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom to close mobile money and SMS short-codes.

According to figures provided by Safaricom and betting companies, there are about 12 million active betting accounts, most 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.

SportPesa has said no winnings are paid to anyone who is found to have flouted conditions which include the age limit.

The increase in remote and mobile gambling along with gambling adverts targeting children are being blamed for increasing gambling addiction amongst children.

Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLBreminds betting firms that they must have effective policies and procedures in place to prevent young people from gambling.

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