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SportPesa Gears Up for Legal Battle with Kenyan Government

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Sports betting platform SportPesa has geared up for a protracted legal battle with the Kenyan government. The operator told that the government was deliberately politicising a dispute over tax to interfere with its Kenyan operations. This has left SportPesa unable to process mobile payments, prompting it to cancel all sports sponsorship agreements in the country.

On 1 July, Kenya’s gambling regulator (BCLB), declined to renew the licence applications of SportPesa and 26 other companies. The BCLB claimed it was owed a total of KES60.56bn in unpaid taxes, claiming that Kenya’s Gaming Bill states that the country’s 20% tax on winnings applies to both profit and to the bettor’s original stake.

“SportPesa is fully tax compliant in all of the markets in which we operate. We have been recognised by the KRA as such, receiving tax compliance awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018,” a SportPesa spokesman said.

The SportPesa spokesman said that the company secured a High Court order that overruled the regulator and prevented the authorities from suspending payment services and interfering with the company. However, on 10 July, the state ordered the telecoms company Safaricom to block banking services to the 27 companies. On 22 July, SportPesa opted to take legal action against the regulator to overturn the blocking order. The High Court is currently considering whether the authorities acted illegally in blocking access to customers’ accounts.

On 9 August, Sportpesa announced it was suspending all of its sports sponsorships in the country. On 11 August, SportPesa was also named in a Sunday Times investigation into the advertising of betting to children in Kenya. However, a SportPesa spokesman denied the operator was deliberately targeting minors.

“SportPesa takes its commitment to ensuring responsible gaming in Kenya extremely seriously. We do not advertise to children and are compliant with all advertising regulation in every market we operate in,” the spokesman said.

Affiliate Industry

Parimatch encourages European affiliates not to underestimate Africa

George Miller

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Parimatch encourages European affiliates not to underestimate Africa
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Following Parimatch’s success establishing itself as an exciting and trustworthy brand in Tanzania, the company has set its sights on the wider continent aiming for key launches across affiliate, mobile and sports betting in the near future. As the brand prepares to bolster its position in the market, Parimatch International’s CEO Anton Rublievskyi and CMO Dmitry Belianin discuss the industry’s growth on the world’s second-most populous continent…

“Africa presents an excellent opportunity for affiliates,” according to Dmitry Belianin, CMO Parimatch International, highlighting how the region removes the issues of the overcrowded affiliate market and high cost advertising platforms which have become potential sticking points in Europe. 2020 will see the brand actively develop its status and the status of affiliate market in Africa as Parimatch prepares to expand its footprint on the continent.

“Since the African market is at an early stage of development, the affiliate model has not yet developed,” explained Belianin. “We are now working on this to attract existing affiliates outside the African market by sharing our experiences and case studies, and also providing training. Affiliates that have been involved in working with the African region are already seeing excellent results and their performance is even better than in some European regions. As the sector expands, we encourage all affiliates to work with reliable brands in the market, such as Parimatch.”

Africa has been of key importance for the company over the last five years, not just with affiliates but across mobile, sports and live betting, during which it has been establishing and strengthening its brand in Tanzania. Having navigated the unique rulings and intricacies of the region, Parimatch aims to develop further in 2020 determined to bring its international expertise in building a trusted brand into play wherever it develops across Africa.

While some companies have struggled to gain real traction with local audiences, the Parimatch name is already recognised in Tanzania thanks to a strong commitment to its brand and a strategic rollout of unique activities.  Mirroring their own global success with brand ambassadors such as Conon McGregor and Mike Tyson, Parimatch International has achieved significant growth in Tanzania by partnering with prominent cultural and sports influencers. “Our initial retail activity proved successful, however, we realised that in order to further scale the business we needed to focus on the online platform and invest more in this part of our offering,” said Belianin. “A major development for our brand in Tanzania was the signing of Diamond Platnumz as our ambassador. He is one of the most popular singers in Tanzania and a well-known personality. We also hold sports events, arrange match viewings and collaborate with other companies in various business areas. Of course, we plan to broaden our expansion in the African market, but we are approaching this selectively and carefully.”

Echoing this sentiment, CEO of Parimatch International, Anton Rublievskyi, stated: “Before building a brand in a new market, you need to make sure that all processes are in place, the product is competitive and that payment solutions for depositing and cashing out are working efficiently.

In Tanzania, we are promoting our brand through working with Diamond Platnumz, who has written a song for Parimatch which is now live on all local radio stations, as well as running advertising and influencer marketing campaigns. Currently we operate in Tanzania only, but this year we do have plans for expansion in Africa.”

In 2019, Lasha Gogiberidze, former Chief Executive Officer at Parimatch Africa advocated Africa’s position as an ‘excellent demonstration of a market primed to drive the next step’ in the future of both technology and the betting industry. In this new decade, aside from affiliates the next big focus in terms of gaming and technology are unequivocally mobile and live betting according to Belianin and Rublievskyi.

“With the development of mobile devices and technologies, the demand for live betting is growing rapidly,” argued Belianin. “We track customer preferences, and have found that the audience in the region enjoy user-friendly and fast products. Gaming applications with an easily accessible interface and simplified jackpots are popular in Africa. Companies that have adapted their products to this demand have shown steady growth.”

Rublievskyi concurred: “The development of mobile devices and connectivity in Africa is key to the accessibility and popularity of online betting platforms. Of course, we closely monitor the rate of digital transformation across the continent and therefore understand that the demand for retail space is gradually decreasing. Our task is to adapt the product to customer preferences, so we focus on developing convenient mobile apps for players and are moving towards the live betting market.”

In terms of ongoing strategy, Parimatch International is developing a new version of its platform for the African industry which Belianin believes will “fundamentally change the competitive landscape of the Tanzanian market”.

“Parimatch International is a multinational team, and we are working hard to expand our offer within Africa,” he said. “Although we cannot announce the markets in which we plan to launch our product in 2020 just yet, we can say we will be launching in several countries with large markets and great potential for a successful introduction of our online betting format.”

Belianin concluded: “We want to bring our innovative new product to customers in 2020. We also plan to launch several large-scale special projects focused on CSR and Tanzania’s sport industry. Similarly, Parimatch International will strengthen ties with local sports leagues and teams in the near future so in terms of Africa in this new decade, we’re definitely ‘Fired Up to Win’!”

About Parimatch International:

Parimatch International is a part of the Parimatch holding, responsible for the international markets, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The company uses the newest version of the Parimatch products, which offer an exciting form of entertainment that enhances customers’ enjoyment of sports and gaming.

The commitment to sports as entertainment is reflected in the sponsorship partnerships: UFC, Conor McGregor, Mike Tyson, and Diamond Platnumz are amongst them.

Parimatch International invests in the building of strong and agile business culture and constantly empowers employees’ development.

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Africa

Betting Shops and Casinos in Kenya Shut Operations

Niji Narayan

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Betting Shops and Casinos in Kenya Shut Operations
Photo Source: dw.com
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Betting Control and Licensing Board of Kenya (BCLB) has ordered all betting shops and casinos to shut down their operations as a part of the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. The ban took effect on March 23, 2020 and will be in force for an indefinite period.

“We make reference to our circular dated March 21, and a statement made by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health on March 22, indicating that coronavirus has continued to affect the world in an unprecedented way,” Peter Mbugi, director of BCLB, said.

“In view of these developments, you are hereby directed to close down all casinos and betting shops with effect from the date of this circular, until further notice,” he said.

“As responsible citizens, you are also required to keep yourselves abreast of and compliant with the government directives that will be issued periodically,” he added.

The Ministry of Health directed that bars and entertainment spots be closed and eateries to operate only takeaway service. These are part of the social distancing measures the government institute to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Africa

Newgioco’s Virtual Generation Secures Five Distribution Deals in Africa

Niji Narayan

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Newgioco’s Virtual Generation Secures Five Distribution Deals in Africa
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Virtual Generation Limited (VG), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Newgioco Group, has secured five new distribution deals in Africa.

VG will provide a variety of virtual sports products including the new Color Lotto games through distribution agreements in Kenya and other regulated regions in Africa.

“The recent suspension of live sports events around the world has given rise to greater demand for non-sports online entertainment products. As an alternative to live sports, the superior technology of our Virtual Generation virtual sports and games provide a highly entertaining solution for gaming operators, and further reflects the strength of our diversified product portfolio,” Michele Ciavarella, Chairman and CEO, said.

“As part of executing our global diversification plans, we are taking both our virtual and real sports solutions to many of the largest betting regions in the world. Africa is one of the fastest growing and most exciting regions in the global online gaming market with gross gambling revenue that reached approximately $500 million in 2018 and expected to grow to approximately $820 million by 2025. This growth is driven in large part by a rise in the availability of online sports betting and African’s passion for sports. By establishing a foothold in the region, we are positioning Newgioco to capture a meaningful share of gaming revenue in Africa,” Michele Ciavarella added.

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