Betting big or betting bad?

Mobile Money And Mobile Lending Feed Kenya’s Relentless Gambling Habit

By  |  November 19, 2021

In the six months to September 2021, Kenyans poured a total of KES 83.2 Bn (USD 742.6 Mn) into various forms of betting via M-Pesa accounts, jumping 69 percent from KES 49.2 Bn (USD 439.1 Mn) recorded in the previous year.

This is according to disclosures by Kenya’s dominant telco, Safaricom, whose popular mobile money platform, M-Pesa, appears to be one of the biggest conduits fattening an ever-expanding betting culture that some have described as Kenya’s “out-of-control” gambling problem.

Research by Geopoll shows that Kenya leads the rest of Africa when it comes to betting, both in terms of the number of people betting and the amount of money they place on bets. In addition, a 2019 survey found that 20 percent of adults in Kenya consider betting to be a reliable source of income. Youth unemployment and poverty are often cited as one of the main factors driving the gambling surge.

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