African sports betting company SportPesa for the first time ever disclosed it’s financial records due to an ongoing court case.
Annual Revenue: Sh149.7 billion or $1.35 billion
Daily bets worth Sh408 million or $3.68 million
Net Profit of Sh10.1 billion or $9.3 million
These numbers highlight how much Kenyans and other Africans are into online sports gambling.
It also makes SportPesa the second-largest company by revenue in Kenya, only after Safaricom which reported a turnover of $2.28 Billion (Sh251.2 billion).
Now let’s talk about the court case
The Backstory: In September 2020, the Kenyan government imposed a 20% tax on winnings for the betting industry. SportPesa refusing to pay this tax, halted its operations in Kenya.
In October 2020 it came back to Kenya under a licence held by a new operator, Milestone Games but less than a day after opening an office it was blocked for "getting its license via a backdoor."
The case went to court and SportPesa came out victorious. However, the victory was short-lived as in mid-November, SportPesa was probed of being involved in money laundering $278m (Sh30 billion) and more recently there’s been a fall out amongst its investors.
The Kenyan revenue authority also claims that Sh21.4 billion ($190m) is yet to be remitted, covering withholding tax on winnings, penalties and interest for the period between January 2018 and May 2019.
Looking forward: Amidst the troubling water, this story reveals how much Africans are into gambling. What’s driving this?
Asides the clever marketing tactics of these betting companies, smartphone availability is increasing and a significant portion of Africa’s youth population is un/underemployed.