Sportpesa customers frustrated over inability to deposit or withdraw funds, company explains situation

By Brian Okoth On Sun, 1 Nov, 2020 12:22 | 2 mins read
SportPesa has announced that it has stopped operations in Kenya until the “hostile business environment” in the country improves. [PHOTO | FILE]
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri. [PHOTO | FILE]
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    Following the disruption of services on its platforms, Sportpesa was Saturday night forced to issue an explanation.

Betting company Sportpesa says Safaricom has terminated its Pay Bill numbers, hence making it impossible for users to deposit or withdraw money from their online wallets.

The Pay Bill numbers affected include: 521521, 9555700 and 955700.

Safaricom was on Friday instructed by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) to suspend the Pay Bill numbers’ activities until the betting control agency gives the telco the greenlight to enable services on the platforms.

The termination of Sportpesa’s Pay Bill numbers comes on the back of suspension of Sportpesa operations in Kenya by the BCLB, which accuses the betting company of going through the backdoor to resume business in the country.

Sportpesa announced Friday that it had been cleared by the State to resume operations in Kenya.

However, it emerged that the gambling firm had reintroduced itself in the Kenyan market without getting the blessings of the BCLB.

The betting control agency says, a fortnight ago, it gave operating license to Milestone Games Limited, which was to operate in Kenya as Milestone Bet, only for the company to adopt the trade name Sportpesa, contrary to an agreement it had signed with the BCLB.

As a result, Milestone Games Limited operating license was on Saturday withdrawn, with the State saying the company must first abide by the contract it signed before it is allowed to do business in Kenya.

Following the withdrawal of the operating license of Milestone Games Limited, Sportpesa could not stand on its own, given the operating license of its mother company, Pevans East Africa Limited, was withdrawn in July last year after the company allegedly defaulted on taxes amounting to Ksh14.9 billion.

Sportpesa clients were on Saturday left frustrated after it became clear that they could not deposit or withdraw funds from their online accounts.

Safaricom, ostensibly, terminated Pay Bill services on the Sportpesa platform following an order by the BCLB, which instructed that Sportpesa Pay Bill numbers should not be operational until a case the company filed against the Government in late 2019 is heard and determined.

Sportpesa had gone to the court of Appeal to challenge the Government’s decision to withdraw its operating license, arguing it had met all its tax obligations.

Following the disruption of services on its platforms, Sportpesa was Saturday night forced to issue an explanation.

“We apologise to our customers over the disruption with our Pay Bill numbers affecting deposits and withdrawals. We are giving the issue our maximum attention. The hitch (sic) arises from the provider’s side (Safaricom), who we are in consultation with, in a bid to restore services. Our team assures you the safety of your money,” said Sportpesa on its official Twitter page.

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