Following our joint report with Ipsos, on the reaction to the crackdown on gambling in Kenya and the suspension of several gambling firms’ licenses, GeoPoll is pleased to release additional data on the prevalence of betting in Kenya, popular types of betting, and the impact that smartphone ownership has had on gambling. This study was conducted by SMS with a sample size of 600 immediately prior to the July 1 regulations taking effect. To purchase GeoPoll’s full reports on gambling in Kenya or request a custom report on certain aspects of gambling in Kenya or other countries please contact us

Prevalence of Gambling in Kenya

GeoPoll’s study found that out of those age 18+ in Kenya, 57% have participated in gambling in the past, including 69% of males and 44% of females. Of those who gamble, 47% are light gamblers who place bets once a month or less, and only 10% of gamblers place bets more than once a day. The study finds that gambling is most popular among males aged 25-34, of whom 77% have gambled in the past, with 58% of this group gambling at least once a week. Females age 35+ are the least likely participants in gambling; Only 46% of this population have ever gambled.

Of those who have not gambled in the past, 39% report that they are not interested, and 27% state a lack of money prevents them from gambling. Those aged 25-34 who do not participate in gambling are most likely to report that this is because of either a lack of money or the fear of losing money – 48% of these participants cited a money-based reason for not gambling, compared to 36% of those aged 35+ and 31% of those aged 18-24, suggesting that this group is interested in gambling but feels a responsibility to not spend their money on gambling.

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Mobile Phones and Betting in Kenya

GeoPoll also confirmed that mobile phones have been at the forefront of the gambling industry in Kenya. There are stark differences in gambling prevalence among smartphone owners vs non-smartphone owners, with just 40% of those owning basic phones gambling, compared to 64% of smartphone owners. Females who own a basic mobile phone are the least likely to have gambled, with only 27% of this group placing bets or gambling.

In addition, among those who have gambled, mobile applications are by far the most popular medium for doing so; 88% of gamblers have used their mobile device to place bets, and 55% of those are gambling on their phone once a week or more. This makes mobile-based gambling both the most popular and the most frequently used method of gambling, demonstrating how the ease of access to mobile gambling has changed the betting industry dramatically.

Casinos are less popular, with only 36% of gamblers reporting that they place bets in casinos, and a third of those who go to casinos stating that they do so once a month or less. Cyber cafes and betting shops are also less frequently used for betting than mobile, with only 28% and 33% of the gambling population respectively noting that they place bets through these shops.

Gamblers in Kenya are most likely to bet by themselves, with 40% noting that they place bets alone most often, however 38% bet with friends, demonstrating that even with the popularity of mobile apps betting can be a social sport.

Football Betting Reigns Supreme

In terms of what people in Kenya are betting on, football is the most popular type of betting – 83% report that they bet on football most often, followed by lotteries which 11% report is their most common form of betting. Lotteries are most popular with the older age group, 22% of which say lotteries are their preferred type of gambling, and females are also more likely to bet through lotteries than males. The popularity of football betting has also been found in previous GeoPoll reports on the World Cup, during which 77% of those in Kenya said they had placed bets, and AFCON, which 83% of Kenyan gamblers planned to place bets on.

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Demonstrating the loyalty gamblers have to their preferred betting type, we find that 37% report they do not have a secondary preferred betting type, and 26% say sports other than football are their second most frequent source of bets.

Data on Gambling in Kenya

GeoPoll has conducted numerous studies on gambling in Kenya dating from 2017 through to the July 2019 suspensions. To purchase our gambling data or request a custom report on the state of gambling in Kenya, contact us today.