Kenya is fertile ground for expansion-hungry iGaming companies looking for subscriber growth. With a population of 56 million, 50 percent of whom are over 18 years old, it is a significant potential catchment.
Mobile penetration is the highest in sub-Sahara at 61 percent, ahead of Zambia at 58 percent, Tanzania at 54 percent and Nigeria at 47 percent. Over half of mobile users own a smartphone. The median mobile internet connection speed via cellular networks is 13.19 Mbps, while the median fixed internet connection speed is 8.58 Mbps.
Largest economy in East Africa
Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa and the nascent online gambling market in 2020 was estimated to be worth just US $40 million compared to the US $2 billion revenues of sportsbooks.
Sports betting dominates the market. With many football-mad Kenyans supporting Premier League and European league clubs 30 licensed sportsbook operators are patronised by locals. Kenya ranks third after South Africa and Nigeria in gambling market size by revenue. Still it has the greatest number of young players and the highest average spend.
Land based vs online
There is a long-established brick-and-mortar casino market with 30 licensed and operating in the main cities. Slot machines proliferate with over 1300, while popular games like roulette and poker are played at over 200 tables.
SportPesa was the first online sportsbook to receive its license a decade ago. GeoPoll confirms that it remains the most popular betting platform, with 82 percent of Kenyan gamblers reporting that they have an account with the sportsbook operator. Other popular operators are Betin, Elitebet, Betika, Mcheza, and Betpawa.
The next most popular, but far behind, are online poker and online casino games, but this segment is growing fast. Two-thirds of Kenyans live in rural areas far from betting shops, and almost 90 percent of rural gamblers place bets using their phone. The economy is still primarily cash-based, with limited usage of traditional banking and credit cards.