Ronald Karauri, Chief Executive Officer of Kenyan gambling operator SportPesa, has criticized Kenyan residents for their lack of support to the firm that is currently experiencing some difficulties.
The gambling company’s boss used Twitter to blame unnamed Kenyan residents for not backing SportPesa following the English Premier League football club Everton’s recent announcement that it had decided to put an end to its sponsorship agreement with the Kenyan gambling company two years prior to the initially-announced deadline of the deal.
Following a series of tweets posted by the city lawyer Donald Kipkorir, who seemed supportive of Everton’s decision to cut ties with the Kenyan gambling operator, SportPesa’s CEO was forced to react. Mr. Kipkorir had asked why poor Kenyan residents appear excited by gambling. He also reminded that first it was the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) that decided to terminate all its sponsorship contracts with SportPesa, and then, Everton FC also announced a decision to pull the plug on its sponsorship deal with the Kenyan gambling company.
This is so far from the truth. The biggest betting company in the world – Bet365 resides in England. Kenyans love bringing down their own, and now the same Bet 365 is probably the most popular betting site in Kenya, more revenue for them and more tax revenue for the UK. https://t.co/C8qiJr30G7
— Capt. Ronald Karauri (@KarauriR) February 17, 2020
Mr. Kipkorir compared the three countries, calling Kenya “a poor and miserable country” and explaining that was one of the reasons why it is excited to see such sponsorships unlike “highly-developed countries” such as the UK and Ireland.
SportPesa’s CEO, however, did not agree. He reminded that the largest gambling operator on a global scale, bet365, is currently based in the UK, but it is the most popular betting site on the territory of Kenya, too.
SportPesa Facing Difficulties Regarding Kenyan License and Global Sponsorship Agreements
As mentioned above, the Twitter thread appeared following the announcement of Everton FC that its sponsorship agreement with the Kenyan gambling company is to be terminated at the end of the current season, which is two years before the originally-announced deadline of the deal.
According to Mr. Kipkorir, the fact that both the FAI and the FA have unveiled stricter measures regarding gambling in football must raise a red flag for Kenyan authorities, which, according to him, had a moral obligation to discourage gambling operators from inking such contracts in poor countries.
For the time being, SportPesa has operations in several countries and territories around the world. However, the last few months have seen the company face certain turmoil. First, the Kenyan Government banned several gambling companies’ licenses in the country, the one held by SportPesa included, following criticism that increased presence of gambling operators is one of the factors to blame for the rising problem gambling rates among children, young adults and vulnerable individuals in Kenya.
As mentioned above, the Football Association of Ireland announced its decision to terminate its two-year sponsorship agreement with the Kenyan gambling operator less than twelve months after the deal was unveiled. The decision followed criticism for the “gamblification” of football, so the FAI preferred to distance itself from gambling operators as sponsors. Last but not least, the EPL football club Everton revealed that it is to end its sponsorship agreement with SportPesa as soon as the ongoing season is completed.