Several findings from recent research confirm that Kenyans aged 55 years and above are the top gamblers unlike a previous report which placed the youths on the top position.
A survey conducted by FinAccess Household in joint efforts by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), and Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSD) Kenya showed that elderly citizens bet 49 times a week on average.
This makes it 41.1 per cent higher than all other age groups. However, they stake an average of Ksh735 which is the least among all age sets meaning they only gamble for leisure.
Among a representative sample used, 13.9 per cent of those polled are reported to be actively engaged in betting, with 18.4 per cent of those who bet being in urban areas and 11.4 per cent in rural areas.
“The gamers who perceive gaming as a source of income declined from 22.7 per cent in 2019 to 11.2 per cent in 2021 and the average amount used for betting declined to Sh939 in 2021 compared to Sh2,559 in 2019. This could be partly attributed (to the) government's deliberate measures to combat irresponsible and illegal betting,” the report notes.
Overall, the frequency of betting declined in 2021 compared to 2019 from 22.6 per cent to 15.9 per cent while weekly betting dropped to 41.4 per cent from 51.7 per cent.
However, monthly and occasional betting increased to 8 per cent and 22.2 per cent from 6.9 per cent and 17.1 per cent, respectively, in 2019.
Among the most striking findings were that the betting industry recorded an average of Ksh200 billion in annual sales.
In the period between March and September, Kenyans spent Ksh83.2 billion to place bets through Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform alone; an annual increase by 69 per cent from Ksh49.2 billion in the previous year.
The biggest beneficiaries of the increased gambling are Safaricom, Kenya Revenue Authority and the betting firms.