Skip to main content

Betin Kenya Takes Network Operator Safaricom to Court for Blocked Mobile Gambling Payments

The gambling operator Betin Kenya has taken local network operator Safaricom to court as the latter deactivated its pay bill numbers and SMS codes.

The ban on mobile payments was imposed after the Government issued an order to Safaricom, obliging it to suspend its M-Pesa payment systems and SMS codes for gambling payment transactions since July 10th.

Now, Betin Kenya is seeking a local court to issue an order under which the telecommunication service operator would be forced to unblock its suspended SMS codes and pay bills. In a court petition, the gambling operator said that Safaricom was addressed to unblock its pay bill account numbers 244449 and 997270, both of which were deactivated on July 12th.

What the betting company seeks is the telecommunication services provider to stop following orders from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). As another part of the petition filed by Betin Kenya reads, Safaricom is required to refrain from acting on any directives by the BCLB related to the applicant’s pay bill account numbers considering the pending court hearing.

Both the Betting Control and Licensing Board and Safaricom were directed by High Court Judge Weldon Korir to respond to Betin’s application before a decision is made on the gambling operator’s application. Despite that, the Kenyan Government insists that the mobile payment services will remain banned for the gambling firm until it makes sure that tax compliance is not violated and the operating license is renewed.

Lawsuit Comes After Kenyan Government Unveils Stricter Regulatory Action against Gambling Operators

The lawsuit is set to be heard on July 26th.

As reported by CasinoGamesPro, on July 10th, the country’s Government ordered Safaricom to suspend SMS codes and M-Pesa payment systems for a total of 27 betting operators with immediate effect. Two of the largest gambling operators in Kenya – Safaricom and Betin Kenya – were among the affected companies, as they have not received a renewal for their operating licenses for the year which commenced on July 1st.

Betin Kenya, however, claims that its operating license was illegally withdrawn by the BCLB. The company has reminded that at the time with the mobile payments were blocked, it held a court order preventing the withdrawal of its permit for offering its services to local customers.

On the other hand, the Government argues that the 27 betting companies which mobile payments were banned under the July 10th order are still required to meet undisclosed licensing requirements and are to be reviewed whether or not they are suitable for holding operating licenses.

The BCLC order was issued shortly after the Government had postponed renewing the operating licenses for a total of 27 gambling companies, including 8 betting operators, 13 casinos and 6 lotteries. The authorities also refused to renew the operating licenses of 19 betting operators which were still waiting for security vetting of its operations and hierarchy. The measures have been taken as part of the authorities’ efforts to tackle spreading gambling participation and problem gambling rates across the nation.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.