NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan authorities are set to deport
17 directors involved in illegal betting business after
cancelling their operating licenses as part of efforts to curb
the craze across the country.
Fred Matiang’i, cabinet
secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and Coordination of
National Government, signed the deportation orders on Tuesday
and the directors are expected to leave the country immediately.
Sources said the majority of the deportees accused of
violating work permits and engaging in business not stated on
the application are from Europe.
Firms whose licenses have not been renewed, or which have
been told to fulfill certain conditions in order to be allowed
to operate, include betting giant SportPesa, Betin, Betway,
Betpawa, Premierebet, Lucky 2 U, 1XBet, Dafa Bet, Atari Gaming,
PalmsBet, Betboss and Mozzarbet.
The firms have denied any wrongdoing and have maintained that
they have met regulatory requirements amid the push and pull
with the government.
The deportation came just a day after the Central Bank of
Kenya wrote to banks informing them that 27 bookmakers and five
public lottery firms had not had their licenses renewed.
The government recently ordered all betting firms to apply
afresh for operating licenses, starting in July, in a move to
net firms that have been evading taxes despite reaping billions
of shillings in profits.
Matiang’i said majority of the Kenyan youth, many of them
jobless, were borrowing multiple times from the about 50 digital
lending platforms to bet.
Up to 76 percent of Kenyan youths aged 35 and below are
engaged in some betting.
Of the 76 percent, 54 percent are from poor backgrounds.