Media Houses Struggling to Meet Ends After Betting Firms Crackdown, Report

Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.PHOTO/COURTESY

A recent report shows that the government’s move to suspend the operating licenses of all but one of the betting companies in the country has come as a huge blow to the media houses which are set to lose Ksh14 billion in advertising revenue this year.

A joint survey by research firms GeoPoll and Ipsos dubbed Unpacking Betting in Kenya went on to highlight that media managers are struggling to make ends meet and have in the recent past been forced to lay off staff to balance the books.

The betting firms is set to  loose equivalent to 10% of their commercial income as betting adverts are a big revenue minter for media houses, the sector has contributed Ksh11.2 billion, Ksh13.1 billion, Ksh16.9 billion and Ksh12.8 billion to media revenue in the financial years 2016, 2017, 2018 and between January and June 2019 respectively.
The sector was expected to contribute more than 10% to the advertising revenue pool this year before the government swooped in claiming that the betting companies owed the taxman Ksh26 billion in unpaid taxes.
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri at a past event. FILE PHOTO | COURTSEY
This is happening at a time that Giant Betting firm Sportspes has sued the state seeking compensation for the days it has been out of business after the government ordered Safaricom to stop processing payments for sports betting companies.

The firm argues that the suspension has caused the company massive losses and as well want the court to quash a notice issued by BCLB to Safaricom that disabled their SMS shortcodes and M-Pesa pay bill numbers.

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