By Christabel Airo
Betting is going on through the SportPesa platform despite the tough talk from authorities.
Several punters can place bets on various games through the platform although the betting company is rocked by boardroom wrangles and is also battling with the regulator over license issuance.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is looking to block the company’s return to the local gaming market. Sportpesa has been fighting the Betting Control and Licensing Board’s (BCLB) decision to block its return to the local gaming industry, while its owners fight over control of the company.
The firm has found itself in court battles as shareholders fight for control of the company that was once among Kenya’s biggest revenue generators. Among the contested issue is how the Sportpesa brand was sold by its initial holding company, Pevans East Africa, to Milestone Games Limited for Sh14 million.
High Court judge Pauline Nyamweya on December 3 issued an order barring the BCLB from stopping Sportpesa operations or summoning the betting giant’s managers until she has determined the suit.
On Sunday, the Nation was able to deposit and withdraw funds in a Sportpesa account and place bets, an indication that the BCLB has allowed the betting firm to operate despite the court order, allowing the gaming firm to continue operating.
BCLB initially summoned Milestone’s managers on October 31 to explain why their licenses should not be cancelled
Interior ministry officials referred the Nation to the BCLB CEO Peter Mbugi, who referred us to the regulator’s Chairman Cyrus Maina.
Cyrus Maina declined to comment on the issue, saying it could be construed to be an assault on the court process.
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri had not responded to our calls or texts by the time of going to press.