Billionaire S.K. Macharia launches betting site

The business mogul has taken a gamble by venturing into the multi-billion industry

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Business mogul and Royal Media Services Chairman SK Macharia has taken a gamble by launching his own betting service.

The site, by the name Shabiki, has been unveiled at a time when the betting craze has become popular in the country with more than ten other gambling firms in the market.

SK Macharia’s move to launch Shabiki is seen as a move aimed at supplementing the company’s revenues to boost their profits.

This coming after a sharp decline in advertising revenue for mainstream media houses due to a shift in media consumption and the government’s policy that restricts ads in commercial platforms.

Royal Media Services is now the first media house to venture into the world of betting as an independent gaming service provider.

Media companies are known to run or partner with lotteries, with Standard championing Lotto while Nation Media promotes Pambazuka.

Shabiki will battle it out with the likes of SportPesa, which is the main player in the industry, and hopes to use the wide reach of its radio, TV and digital platforms to attract players to its side.

The other players in the market include Betin, Elitebet, Betway, Bet Yetu, Dafabet, Mcheza, Lucky2u, Kenya Sports Bet, BetPawa, Goldbet Kenya, and Uwezo Bet among others.

The lucrative betting industry has in recent past been generating billions of shillings owing to the huge number of Kenyans addicted to betting.

However, just a few weeks ago, the government dealt the firms a big blow by slapping a massive 50 per cent tax levy on all revenue generated by the sites; a move that led to a huge outcry by the gaming companies terming it as a ‘punitive’ measure.

President Kenyatta however asked Parliament to reduce the tax from the initial 50 per cent to 35 per cent.

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