How to pick a reliable bookmaker in Kenya

So many choices can often lead to a situation where it is actually hard to make one. Take online bookmakers for example. There is just an abundance of them available to consumers and that can lead to confusion of which are the best options to go with.

Of course, every player will have their own set of specific wants and desires for a bookmaker. Some may be highly concerned only on market value and not be too worried about big features such as Cash Out options.

Others may have a larger focus on live in-play betting and some may well just want a bit of everything. Whatever a player is looking to get out of an online betting site, there are some important factors to consider in helping make the right decision of which one to take. 

Licensing and regulation

SportPesa were one of the pioneers of online betting in Kenya after getting regulated to provide services back in 2013. Other major players in the country have been Dafabet, Betlion, Betlion and 1xBet. 

There are around 20 operators with licences to operate in Kenya. While gambling is overseen by the Betting & Licensing Board, sports betting online in Kenya is unregulated. In 2011 the board permitted international operators to accept players from Kenya. 

So two things are going on. Kenyan players can access domestic-based operators, a lot of which are unknown to the international arena. Or they can adopt the approach of singing with an international bookmaker who provides services to them. 

Safety and Security

The upshot of it all is that it is legal and to bet online in Kenya. The highest recommendation is to always go with a legitimate, well-established operator and in a lot of cases that may be major international companies that offer their services. While there is not the level of regulatory oversight in Kenya as there are in other counties when it comes to gambling, the major international companies may adhere to a lot safer and more stringent quality operations. 

Customer Service

When trying into find a bookmaker in Kenya that has a good, strong reputation, customer service is an essential part of the choice. This is something that a lot of punters will probably not think about in the first instance, instead placing a higher priority on things like market variety and odds value.

But if at the end of the day, you need help with your account or transactions, for example, you will want to know that you are backed up by high-quality customer service at the online betting site that you are working worth. Check for things like availability times and contact methods before you sign up.

Payments and Withdrawals

Online betting is all about the money of course and either way you are going to want to be able to both deposit and withdraw funds without hassle. Naturally, the most common way that customers are going to be able to fund themselves is through a credit or debit card.

Different bookmakers will also offer E-Wallet options in some circumstances, along with the more traditional bank wire and bank check options. Airtel and M-Pesa are both operational in Kenya. Any transactions that are done directly from a bank such an electronic bank transfer are likely going to take a lot longer than any of the other methods. They may incur more fees too.

How to Check Payments

Account management is essential in picking a bookmaker. Browse through help sections and FAQs at any site and you should be able to find information about how long withdrawals take. Some methods will take longer than others. But you can easily find out by visiting a bookmaker's site if your preferred method of payment/withdraw is being used there, along with any associated fees and processing times as well. It should not be information that is hidden.

Sportsbook and Value

So then down to the nitty-gritty of operations. Variety is one of the big factors of online betting. Sports bettors don’t always focus on just one particular sport and so a good sportsbook that offers a variety of coverage from the major sports like soccer, rugby, tennis etc, will serve a punter better than a limited range.

Bookmakers will vary on this score. Some of the bigger international operators that run sportsbooks for Kenyan players, will potentially be the ones where the bigger sportsbooks are. That is because they can pull in from their extensive international resources to deliver high-quality books. 

So if for example, your big thing is the UEFA Champions League, then ensure that the bookmaker you are looking at covers all matches extensively. It’s the same with any sport. Because of the variety of bookmakers from which to choose, there is no need to be limited and miss out on what you most need from online betting.

That goes for odds value as well. The bigger competitive entities have more trading power and because of that, will be competitive with others in providing strong odds. A quick odds comparisons between operators as well as checking out bookmakers margins that are in operation, are a good approach to assessing the value of odds.


Because online betting offers a great deal more than just a sportsbook, features are another consideration to make when it comes to picking an online bookmaker. Such big features that may be important to your online betting include live in-play wagering across a variety of sports and live streams. 

Live in-play betting adds a big dynamic to any wagering, and it expands the reach of a sportsbook to encompass a different range of bets that can be taken while the action is on-going. Being able to watch streams of live sports right in the same place as where your betting is done, appeals to a lot of players. 

These are a couple of the major features of online betting today, as well as promotions where things like free bets can be collected. If there are any such offers that you are interested in, then always fully check the terms and conditions involved. That goes for any new customer sign up bonuses. 


When it comes down to picking a bookmaker, look for reputation and put things like security at the top of your check list. After all, it is your money that you are handing over, so you will want it protected as much as possible. 

There is plenty of choice available and don’t just settle for the first thing that you come across. All bookmakers are not the same, take some time to explore and find the right fit for you in terms of sportsbook, value and features. That will enhance your overall experience.

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