Sources at the ministry told the Nation that BCLBs
former management had become so close to some of the betting firms that they were getting in the way of the government's attempt to clean up the sector.
'The licenses for the betting firms were not renewed until they meet the outstanding renewal requirements as well as outcome of ongoing due diligence to determine if they are fit and proper to hold a license from this board,' BCLB
Acting Director Liti Wambua told the telcos in a letter.
Considered a social vice, gambling is subject to a strict regulatory regime under BCLB
, which caps the number of new licencees.
is of the opinion that licensing should remain in its hands as gambling is a security issue, and it has instructed operators to ignore licences issued to them by counties.
This firm operates a number of shops in Kayole, Kawangware, Westlands suburbs in Nairobi, and along Ronald Ngala street, in the capital's CBD.Sources suggest Mozzart Bet was given a clean bill of health by authorities after opting to the negotiating table with BCLB
over how to offset tax arrears other than going to court.
Efforts to get a comment from Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB
) hit a snug, with the agency's acting managing director Liti Wambua only promising to respond later.
Prof Githu Muigai for Gamcode ltd, also known as Betin, said BCLB
cannot be allowed to act "in a manner that it deems fit and in contravention of the law"."The board if under duty to observe the law," he said.
The crackdown coordinated by Kenya's Interior Ministry, the parent ministry of the BCLB
, targeted firms including SportPesa, Betin, Betway, and 1XBet, which featured heavily in the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
"We wish to inform you that the licences for the following companies were not renewed, until they meet the outstanding renewal requirements as well as outcome of ongoing due diligence to determine if they are fit and proper to hold a licence from this board," BCLB
acting managing director Liti Wambua said.
The High Court had also suspended the decision by BCLB
to withdraw Betin Kenya's licence, prompting the betting firm to push for punishment of the regulator for disobeying the judges.On Tuesday, High Court judge Weldon Korir declined the betting firms' plea for bosses at BCLB
punished for contempt of court.
In what was a very fluid day SportPesa, Betin and Betpawa moved to court seeking to reverse an earlier decision by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB
) to block their paybill numbers and short codes.
Where I disagree is the approach the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB
) and its parent ministry, the Office of the President, adopted in closing the operations of several of such firms in the country.