Kenya: gaming firms who haven’t renewed their licences risk shutdown

BOS says operators are interpreting the rules in different ways.
BOS says operators are interpreting the rules in different ways.

The Communications Authority has ordered mobile operators to stop issuing services to operators who have nor renewed their licences.

Kenya. The Communications Authority of Kenya has ordered mobile network operators to stop issuing ICT platforms and services, including USSDs, shortcodes, and paybill numbers to betting, gaming and lottery operators who have not renewed their Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) licences.

General Ezra Chiloba, director of the authority said the directive was in line with licence conditions on the provision of the licensed services. Gaming firms require their licences to be renewed by the BCLB, but it is requiring a list of other approvals that most operators do not currently meet.

Chiloba said: “To ensure that these communications services are used within the remits of regulatory framework, the authority directs operators that the use of licensed ICT platforms and services for provision of betting and gambling services shall only be by firms duly licensed by BCLB.

“Mobile operators are required to provide returns to the BCLB and the Authority detailing numbering resources allocated to licensed betting and gambling service providers on a monthly basis.

“Additionally, the MNOs shall be required to provide returns to the BCLB and the Authority detailing numbering resources (PayBill and USSDs), allocated to licensed betting and gambling services providers on a monthly basis.

Chiloba urged operators direct any consultations with the BCLB chairperson, Cyrus Maina. The BCLB is currently in the process of renewing gaming licences but is reportedly only allowing renewals for firms meeting the requirements set by the interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Those criteria include clearance by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Financial Reporting Centre, CA and the Interagency security team as well as the Communications Authority. The majority of the betting, gaming and lottery firms have reportedly not met that list of criteria.

The BCLB conducted a report on compliance status and concluded: “The report reveals that the majority of these firms have not complied with the stated requirements,” it said. “Consequently, their applications were not successful.”

The BCLB says it has told operators that applications may be reconsidered if they are resubmitted after of the requirements have all been met.

Matiang’i has ordered a crackdown on unlicensed gambling, asking the BCLB to create a list of unlicensed sites that the Communications Authority will then be instructed to block.

In May, the BCLB began an investigation into money gaming operators invest in the sponsorship of sports clubs and community projects amid rumours that betting companies were channeling funds to political parties rather than CSR activities. Chief executive Peter Mbugi ordered all gaming operators to disclose the activities, amounts, and beneficiaries of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending.

See also: It’s Time for Africa – Sports Betting East Africa+ Summit Returns to Tanzania

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