Leading telecommunications companies wrote to the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) seeking clarification on whether to shut down pay bill numbers linked to betting and gaming companies.

In a response on Thursday, BCLB directed that all gamblers be given 48 hours to withdraw their monies or lose it.

Liti Wambua, the acting director of BCLB wrote: "This is to permit you to allow gamers of the subject firms to withdraw any funds they may have deposited in the material period within 48 hours from the date hereof and duly notify them of the same.”

Gamblers in a betting shop in Kenya

12 million customers affected 

Telecommunication companies said the directive will affect over 12 million customers, and that blocking them would expose the company to legal action.

A source who spoke to Pulselive.co.ke confirmed that BCLB had granted the request by a leading telco to allow gamblers time to withdraw their money from their mobile wallets before complying with the directive.

BCLB also wrote to commercial banks and the Communication Authority of Kenya in its ongoing crackdown.

Pending taxes

A Letter to the Communication Authority directed them to withdraw the content service provider licences issued to gaming and betting firms that have been blacklisted.

Gamblers in a betting shop in Kenya

The Nation reported that commercial banks were asked to be alert and prevent betting firms from getting their billions out of the country.

The State on Wednesday evening struck at the heart of 27 betting firms, ordering telcos to shut down their pay bill numbers and short codes till their licences are renewed.

This is after a report from a multi-agency team set by the Government indicated that the companies made about Sh204 billion last year, yet paid Sh4 billion only in taxes.