Online gambling in Kenya has become big business, with the online casino and betting industry expanding in popularity as Internet penetration rates in the African country grow. Below is our guide to Kenya’s online gambling laws, along with information about what online casino games are available for Kenyans, how to play for real money using KES and the best online casino sites accepting Kenyan players.
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Are online casinos legal in Kenya?
Gambling is legal in Kenya, with all forms of gambling regulated under the laws of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966 and overseen by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). The Gaming Act gives authority to the Licensing Board to issue and revoke licenses to gambling operators, with all licenses expiring on 30th June the following year to ensure vendors stay up to date with changing rules and regulations within the industry. In Kenya, it is legal to bet on state-approved lotteries, sports, bingo and at any of the land based casinos around the country.
Like many other countries, Kenya’s Gaming Act has not been properly updated to include the advent of the Internet. A state-owned online casino, BetKenya, was previously granted a license by the Licensing Board but is no longer in operation. As part of the Gaming Act, online casinos are technically legal, provided they have been licensed by the Betting Control and Licensing Board, but as no Kenyan licensed casinos exist, many Kenyan’s are turning to offshore casino sites instead.
Gambling at an offshore casino or unlicensed casino is considered illegal in Kenya, but as the laws are loosely enforced and the government does not block foreign-run casino sites, hundreds of offshore casinos accept players from Kenya and there are no records of a player being punished for playing at a foreign online casino.
Online casino games in Kenya
In Kenya, online sports betting takes the cake in terms of popularity, but casino games are becoming more and more popular as Internet accessibility expands. Kenyan players have access to the full package of online casino games, including slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, baccarat, craps, table poker, keno, lotto, bingo, scratch cards and niche games that are unique to online casinos.
A great feature offered at online casinos is that games are available to sample for free in practice mode, so even if you have never played a casino game before, you can trial games to familiarise yourself with the rules without having to risk any of your own money. Games are available for instant-play directly over your Web browser, with no downloads required, so you can play games with no risk and no commitment.
Check out the 10 most popular online slots games for Kenyan players.
Kenyan live dealer games
If you can’t make it to one of Kenya’s land based casinos, you can still get in on the action and excitement of playing in real life by playing online live dealer casino games. Live dealer games are hosted by real people from real casino studios, and streamed to your computer or mobile device through an online casino using a live video stream. You get to watch as the dealers call for bets, deal cards and spin the roulette wheel, just as though you were sitting across the table in real life. Many live dealer games offer chat functions, so you can interact with other players, combining the fun, social elements of gambling with the convenience of being able to play from the comfort of home.
Note that unlike RNG (random number generated) casino games which can be sampled for free in practice mode, live dealer games require real money bets to play.
Mobile online casinos
The mobile penetration rate in Kenya is around 90%, which means most Kenyan adults now have access to a mobile phone. Only about 50% of those are smartphones, but the rates are expanding rapidly, with more mobile users now looking to their mobile devices to place real money bets on the go. Kenyan players who have a smartphone or tablet with data capabilities and access to a secure Internet connection can choose from many secure mobile casino sites, with games available for instant-play or by downloading native casino apps. Major mobile network operators in Kenya include Airtel, Yu, Orange and Safaricom.
Mobile casinos offer a smaller selection of games than you will find at a full desktop casino site, but there’s still plenty of variety, with hundreds of casino games now optimised for mobile and new releases coming out all the time.
KES payment methods at Kenyan online casinos
While Kenyan players are free to place real money bets at plenty of casino sites, finding an offshore casino that accepts deposits using the Kenyan shilling (KES) will be no easy task. When making your deposit, you will most likely have to accept that your KES deposit will be exchanged into a more widely accepted currency, like USD, AUD, GBP or EUR. Your currency will be exchanged automatically when making your deposit based on the days exchange rate, and may be subject to currency conversion fees depending on the terms and conditions of the casino.
The deposit options and currencies available vary between each online casino, with the most commonly accepted payment methods including:
- Direct bank wire
Some payment methods exclusive to African players are starting to be accepted, like special mobile payment systems and pre-paid cards. Refer to the casino’s FAQ section before signing up for an account to see what payment options are offered to Kenyan punters.
Casino bonuses for Kenyan players
When signing up for an online casino account, the best casino sites offer some great casino welcome bonuses to entice new players to play for real money. The bonus offers can range from things like free spins on selected slot games, to matched deposit bonuses or free credits, with the intention being to give players more for their money when starting out with the casino. The bonus offers vary between each casino site, so we recommend shopping around to find the sign-up offer that best suits you before signing up for an account. Always make sure to read the terms and conditions, as most casino bonuses come with wagering requirements and other stipulations before you can withdraw any of the money made from your bonus.
Check out the current online casino bonuses available for Kenyan players here.
Online casino help and customer service
It is important that online players remember that just because they are playing behind the anonymity of a computer or mobile screen, it doesn’t mean their rights are any less valid. Therefore, when playing at an online casino site, it is essential you choose casinos that offer a dedicated customer service facility. Customer service at online casinos will ensure there is someone available to speak to if you are having trouble with any aspect of the site, have a question about payment, or just a general query about the casino’s games, bonus offers or deposit methods.
Most good online casinos now offer a live chat option, where players can chat directly with a member of the customer help team without having to wait for a response via email. Live chat is typically facilitated in English, which is the official language of Kenya, so Kenyan players should have no problem seeking help from a casino staff member. If live chat isn’t available or you are seeking help outside the hours of operation, our recommended online casinos also offer customer service via email, contact form and in some cases, via telephone help line.
Answers to common questions and other general information can be found within the casino’s FAQ or Help pages, which often comes in handy if you’re looking for a quick answer to a general enquiry.