What Do We Know About Casinos in Kenya? Let’s Find Out

What Do We Know About Casinos in Kenya? Let’s Find Out

Kenya is among Africa's most successful gambling industries, comparable to powerhouses like Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, and Ghana. Statista reports that the online gambling market in Kenya, for instance, is expected to have a CAGR of 8.48% from 2023 to 2027.

This shows the ongoing and pervasive expansion of the current gambling markets, gradually infiltrating diverse audiences and markets over time.

In this article, we will dive in and discover how the gambling market in Kenya operates, its regulatory considerations, some of its best casinos, both physical and online, and much more.


Brief History of Gambling in Kenya

Like in many other countries, gambling in Kenya started long ago, with formalized offerings approved in 1966.

Over the years, the gambling landscape in Kenya has undergone significant transformations, influenced by socio-economic factors, technological advancements, and evolving regulatory frameworks.

In 2023, Kenya boasts a diverse gambling market encompassing various activities, including sports betting, casino gaming, lottery games, and more.


Gambling Laws in Kenya

Lotteries, bingo, and casino games are among the lawful gambling activities permitted by Kenyan law. Kenya is home to some of the world's most ardent football fans, with famed political leaders like Raila Odinga openly showing their love and support for their favorite football clubs on social media.

Celebrities and media influencers partner with betting companies like OdiBets, Betway, and Betika. Therefore, it is no surprise that sports betting would be legal in the World's Safari Capital.

In 1966, land-based gambling operations were legalized. Gambling activities in Kenya are regulated by the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act of 1966, which established the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) as the authority responsible for issuing licenses, enforcing rules, and resolving disputes.

The Kenyan legislature passed a new bill in 2019 to update the nation's antiquated laws and enact fresh guidelines for internet gambling.


Powers of the BCLB

It is within the agency's jurisdiction to grant operating licenses to authorized operators and, in case of a violation, to revoke or temporarily suspend them. The regulator is not allowed to revoke the permits, though, for longer than two weeks.

Another duty of the BCLB is investigating complaints by Kenyan players against its licenses. Both land-based and online casino operators in Kenya must obtain a license from the BCLB and pay various fees and taxes, depending on the type and size of their business.

The license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually. So, what are the exact licensing requirements by the BCLB for casino operators to set up and run their casinos?


Casino Operators Licensing Requirements

As we had already stated, the first step to opening gambling businesses is to obtain permits from the BCLB. The agency issues Several license types based on the type of gambling product offered.

Licenses for pool betting, tote betting, bingo, lotteries, casino gaming, and gaming machines are available to operators. Before issuing any licenses, the BCLB must give copies of the applications to the gambling companies approved by the county authorities.

Those approved must deposit a surety deposit of up to Ksh 40,000. If a license is canceled or expires, each operator gets the surety amount back. The BCLB can adjust the amount of the surety based on the business size.



        Access to casinos, both land-based and online, is generally available to Kenyan residents who are eighteen years and older.

        It is illegal to sell lottery tickets to individuals under the age of 16.

        Legal games include poker, casino games, bingo, lotteries, skill games, and social gaming.

There are several casino venues in Kenya, primarily located in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Some popular ones are Casino Flamingo, Finix Casino, and Mayfair Casino.


Online Casinos in Kenya

Online casinos are also legal and widespread in Kenya, as many Kenyans prefer to gamble on their smartphones or computers. Many online casino sites accept Kenyan players and offer a variety of games, such as slots, roulette, blackjack, poker, and bingo.

Some of Kenya's best online casino sites are Betway, 22Bet, and Spin Casino. However, Kenya’s government monopoly on online casinos may make it harder to obtain permits from the BCLB to run a local online casino.


Casinos Accepting Kenyan Players (Foreign and Local)

Although there is a legal monopoly on online gambling in Kenya, their government does not prohibit websites run and owned by foreign corporations. The finest online casinos accepting players from Kenya are run by foreign companies like the top UK casinos.

There are no legal consequences for Kenyan players who sign up and play at those sites.


Final Thoughts

You now know Kenya's gambling industry, its regulatory requirements, and the best casinos to visit when traversing Nairobi.

Looking ahead, the gambling scene in Kenya holds exciting prospects. The industry is on a dynamic journey, continually evolving and embracing technological advancements.

With the surge in accessibility through online platforms, the future promises a thrilling gambling experience for enthusiasts. However, it is worth mentioning that the ills of gambling, when mishandled, remain something to be vigilant about.

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