The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) has ordered Safaricom to suspend Mpesa paybills and SMS short codes for 27 betting firms including SportPesa and Betin. This is due to the fact that the operating license for the year starting July 1 were not renewed.
According to BCLB, the 27 firms are yet to meet undisclosed licensing requirements and are being vetted to establish if they are fit to hold gambling permits. Renewal of the licenses will be dependent on operations and directors of the firms getting a clean bill of health in the ongoing security vetting process.
If the switch off is successful, it will have dealt a big blow to the betting firms given that the bulk of gambling takes place online and most people rely on Mpesa to be able to place bets, pay off losses and get winnings.
According to Safaricom, the orders will affect 12 Million betting accounts, however, the telco reckons that it will be in breach of the law to disable operations of firms like SportPesa and Betin given they have court orders allowing them to continue operating.