SportPesa’s offices in Nairobi, Kenya were almost raided by the Kenyan gambling regulator after officials showed up at the building on Thursday but couldn’t gain entry and had to leave empty-handed.
More Legal Woes for SportPesa in Kenya
Troubled sports betting operator SportPesa has had its offices in Nairobi, Kenya almost raided by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) on Thursday, December 17, media reports have confirmed, in what is the latest development in the saga featuring the embattled sports betting operator.
Since SportPesa returned to the country, it has had been forced to suspend operations at least once because of BCLB, with rulings flying left and right and leading to a kerfuffle of exclusive opinion as to the legality of the operation.
In a recent legal exchange with the BCLB, SportPesa successfully proved that it is operating the trade name legally and therefore the actions by the regulator were not authorized. At the same time, the company faced a Financial Reporting Center investigation looking into potential money-laundering operations initiated by SportPesa.
According to witnesses, the BCLB arrived on-site in front of the SportPesa offices in an attempt to confiscate equipment and suspend operations, but they had to leave because of the rather comic reason where they couldn’t gain entry to the building.
SportPesa has not been one to sit quietly either, arguing that it has sought legal advice and will take legal recourse against the operator for the “attack” on its office.
SportPesa Calls BCLB’s Tactics Harassment and Intimidation
The company intends to sue both the BCLB and the Interior Ministry for an unauthorized use of force and taking action that is not within their remit, especially in light of a Nairobi High Court ruling which has ordered both to stand down until a hearing scheduled for January has taken place.
According to SportPesa, the BCLB has used intimidation tactics to abuse and harass employees who work at Milestone Games Ltd, the new operator of the SportPesa trade name.
SportPesa remains operational, the business reassured in a series of Tweets, prompting once again Internet traffic to spike with queries such as “Is SportPesa back?” The uncertainty about the licensing agreement and operations of SportPesa indeed leave some room for doubt. In a statement, SportPesa had this to add:
“The management of SportPesa notes with great concern the continued blatant disregard and violation of the orders issued by the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi in Judicial Review Miscellaneous Application Number E061 of 2020.”
While SportPesa may have the legal grounds to operate until at least the January’s hearing, the BCLB’s continuous disregard for the Nairobi High Court decision puts this in jeopardy. At the same time, Kenya has welcomed another heavyweight sports betting company, BetSafe, which is operating with the blessing of the regulator.