Safaricom seeks indemnification from Kenya’s betting and licensing board

    Gamblers in a betting shop in Kenya

    The move by Kenya government ordering telecoms firm Safaricom PLC to refrain from processing payments for sports betting companies has prompted it to consult its lawyers to seek for indemnity with respect to mechanisms of compliance in shutting down a lucrative source of the company’s revenue stream.

    In a letter to Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), TripleOKLaw acting on behalf of Safaricom states that its law-abiding corporate citizen is prepared to comply with the directive but requires a number of important clarifications in view of Safaricom’s responsibility to its own customers to whom it provides a payment platform to facilitate the completion of various transactions.

    Safaricom asserts that its request ought to be understood in light of the fact that the directive by BCLB will impact on over 12 million customers.

    In light of wide impact, the Safaricom in addition has requested BCLB to notify the public and the affected entities through public announcements in the mass media within the nest 25 hours so that the directive is properly disseminated and therefore indemnify it against potential legal and reputational consequences.

    According to Safaricom’s view, the games or persoms who have placed bets with the various betting companies who are in the subjects of the Board’s letter should be granted the opportunity to withdraw their deposits.

    Safaricom further opines that the Government’s directive to suspend Paybill, SMS and Short Codes will affect the ability of gamers to withdraw the funds deposited in the gaming wallets of the various Gaming companies.

    In the letter to BCLB, Safaricom reckons that that it is an important public policy consideration that depositors shouldn’t be denied access to their funds despite any regulatory action against the licensed entity.

    Since the directive to shutdown Paybill, SMS and Short codes will no doubt deny the gamers access to their funds, Safaricom has proposes that gamers or depositors be allowed access to their funds so that there’s is no prejudice to persons which may have the unintended consequence of inviting undesirable legal action against it.

    In the letter, TripleOKLaw notes that Safaricom has instructed it to on its behalf seek for permission to block additional deposits to the gaming wallets while allowing gamers to withdraw their funds.


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