Legal forms of betting allowed in Kenya

April 7, 2023

We today live in a precarious world where so many fast embrace a life of universalism where everything goes. Like, the different limits set by law or culture seem to many as unnecessary inconvenience and would rather live their lives without them. The same idea could be borne by those engaged in betting who would love to have a freehand to do whatever they may please but sorry, that can’t be the case in Kenya. To practice gambling in Kenya, you need to abide by the legal forms of betting allowed in the country.

The menace of and addiction to gambling in Kenya

The government of Kenya, though in a seemingly reactionary and erratic manner have in the past crashed down slot gambling that was really fast growing in the country. Do you recall the time when the minister for interior and coordination of national government Dr. Fred Matiang’i led a contingent of police with an order to impound slot machines? So many wondered what the government was up to and questioned which forms of gambling were allowed. The confusion came because Sportpesa, a giant online betting firm with operations in Kenya was also facing an onslaught from the government on the tax compliance front.

Not all forms of gambling are permitted in Kenya

Gambling generally means a play of chances where participants agree to winning or losing their stake in the process. Ordinarily, people can bet on so many things like whether it will rain today or someone will win an election and not the other. There’s so much to gamble about and everyone knows this. But even with this possibility, a law abiding Kenyan must be aware that just being a possibility doesn’t mean all forms of gambling pass as legal.

Although betting is allowed in Kenya, it has to be carried out through a licensed provider. Besides, for any betting site to operate in Kenya, it must obtain a license from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The company authorizes all betting sites and ensures that gaming activities are conducted fairly without any fraud or unlawful acts. 

There are different betting allowed in Kenya including lotteries, casino gaming, sports betting, money line bets, fixed odds betting, exchange wagering among others. In this article, let us dig deep into these types of Betting found in the Kenyan gambling market.

Sports Betting in Kenya

Sports betting is the common type of betting in Kenya. As people watch football games, they place bets on the group that will win. If the bet goes through as placed, then one will win some amount of money from it. In fact, Kenya is regarded as a hotbed for sports betting

In Sub Saharan Africa, Kenya has the highest number of youths who take part in sports betting. The widespread use of internet and smartphone usage has highly contributed to the increase in the number of people involved in sports betting. Some people have become addicted to sports betting. 

Although sports betting has made some youths addicted to gambling, it has made some wealthy. People in Kenya have won millions of shillings through Sports betting. For instance, recently, a 23 year old won Ksh 200 million from the Betika mega jackpot. With just ksh 49, Kiprono accurately predicted 17 games which made him the mega jackpot winner. 

Casino betting

Just like sports betting, casino betting is also popular in Kenya. For instance, in 2022, there were 30 licensed casinos in Kenya. Some of the top games played at the Kenyan casinos include video poker, roulette, slots, as well as blackjack. 

Gambling at the casino is a great strategy of earning extra cash. Besides, betting in a casino is good as it gives you a chance of taking risks in a well controlled environment. Did you also know that casinos give you a chance of interacting with other players. 


Do lotteries exist in Kenya? Yes, lotteries exist in Kenya and they are legal. The entries do cost from ksh 10 upto ksh 2000. One of the common lottery companies is Lotto. It gives people the chance of purchasing multiple tickets. In winning a lotto game, one is usually given the chance of choosing some numbers in order to win. 

Moneyline bet

Moneyline bet is the most common type of betting. It  allows the gambler to wager by choosing the team or person they suppose is going to win. Besides, Moneyline is the most open wager. This is because  it has three or two outcomes depending on the sport. For instance, football or boxing matches may have a draw option that means none of the teams won or lost. However, the availability of the third option depends on the bookie you are using because some have the draw no bet option that only allows the gambler to choose winning teams only.

What makes Moneyline bet easy and popular is because bettors are only required to pick a winning team and wait for the outcome. If the outcome of choice is correct, the punter receives their funds according to the odds. The odds are then multiplied by the money staked. Moreover, MoneyLine has three categories which include the favorite, the Underdog and even or pick.  Interestingly, each one has its own rules.

Totals and over/under bets

Just like money line bets, this type of betting is also an elementary type of gambling for first timers. Totals bet work in such a way that the bookies issue a certain sum of the number of points both teams are likely to score in a sporting event. The punter will therefore choose whether the teams will score more or less than the given points. 

For instance, if a sports book issues a total of 50 points on a game, and you choose the under option, it means both teams should score a sum of less than 50 points for you to win. However, if the outcome is more than 50 points it’s a loss for the under bettors and a win for over bettors. Also, in case the total outcome equally sums up to the given total points, punters are refunded their money back. This type of wager doesn’t require you to choose a winning team, only the total points will, depending on whether you chose under or over.

The good thing about total bets is that gamblers not only rely on pre-game bets but also on live bets. The periods include quarters and specific teams. It is a good type of bet because sometimes, it is challenging to predict a game before it commences. 

Proposition Bets and specials

Special or prop bets have no specific definition. This is because they comprise so many different types of bets. Some of them include, which team or player will be the first to score in a game, the time or period the first goal will be scored,  and if there will be safety in a football match etc. This type of bet is so open for a lot of bets which are independent and do not depend on the outcome of a game.

Moreover, if you are not sure about the end results of a football much but you know of a certain player that is likely to score, then special bets give an opportunity to place a bet. Besides that, you have about 50% chances of winning and payout is the same for those who wagered for the outcome. Betting through prop bet is also simple because most online bookies have prop bets, and the odds look like those of other games

Since everyone has their own favorite type of betting many sports books offer a variety of them to allow punters to enjoy their gaming experience. As a gambler, it is good to try several types of betting to increase your chances of winning and to discover new gambling tips. However, Kenya is working extra hard to enhance safeties in the sector through the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

Author Fredrick