Betting is taking away our customers – Eabl complains

Kenyan youth prefer betting over alcohol

A file photo of an employee inspecting beer at an East African Breweries Ltd factory.

East African Breweries Limited (EABL), through its Kenyan subsidiary Kenya Breweries Limited, has complained over the rising betting craze among the youth, saying the new trend is taking away their customers.

KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku said the get rich mentality is driving many people below the age of 35 into gambling.

She added that research had established that after food and airtime, betting and alcohol were fighting for the third position among young people in Kenya.

Betting is a serious competitor. When you walk into any shopping centre, the proportion of shops is probably the highest and when youth get in, there will be a betting shop then a bar,” the KBL boss said.

She added that the frequency of time spent was more towards betting than alcohol because of the allure of quick riches.

Gambling has been a part of Kenyan culture since independence in what cultural analyst Dr Joyce Nyairo – author of Kenya@50: Trends, Identities and the Politics of Belonging.

However, sports betting has in the past six years become prevalent in Kenya since 2013 when the first online sports betting company SportPesa was registered.

The government, through the Ministry of Interior, has sought to manage the betting craze by introducing tough regulations including banning of betting shops in most parts of the country and introduction of new taxes on betting companies.

The policies, however, have done little to turn away many desperate Kenyan youths who see betting as the only ticket out of poverty. 

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