Renowned for its sweeping and picturesque plains teaming with wildlife, the East African nation of Kenya is home to the majestic Great Rift Valley, the sprawling Maasai Mara game reserve and breath taking views of the Mount Kilimanjaro, which is located in neighbouring Tanzania and soars almost 5,800m above sea level. Kenya is also home to a thriving land and online betting and casino industry, with a multitude of home-grown gambling fans.
In fact, after South Africa and Nigeria, Kenya boasts the third largest gambling industry on the African continent, which is growing year on year. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that like the other two nations mentioned, Kenya has one of the most liberalised gambling industries in Africa. In other words, most forms of gambling have been legalised and regulated by the Kenyan government, and are thus permitted and are taxable.
And two, due to big advances in internet and smart phone technology in Kenya, coupled with the increased availability of reputable remote betting and casino platforms and safe and secure mobile money methods to fund them, Kenyans have never had access to better, faster or more convenient gambling facilities as they do today. In fact, online gambling sites and fast online payment methods have virtually revolutionised gambling in Kenya.
With that in mind, here are the two most common, safest and reputable payment methods available to online gamblers who are based in Kenya – Airtel Money and Safaricom M-PESA:
Airtel Money (mobile money transfer)
One of the most popular and utilised payment methods amongst online gambling fans in Kenya is Airtel Money, a convenient, secure and safe mobile-based method of payment that allows users to fund their online betting and casino accounts, buy services and goods online, transfer funds from their mobile phone to other mobile phone users quickly and efficiently and much more.
Because Airtel Money is accessible 24/7, 7 days a week and is a tried, trusted and reliable payment option, it is accepted by most leading Kenyan online sportsbooks and casinos alike. In fact, you’ll struggle to find a Kenyan online gambling site that doesn’t accept Airtel Money as a banking method. All users need to transfer money to and from their online gaming accounts using Airtel Money is a mobile phone and the means to fund their Airtel accounts.
Being an SMS-based payment option, virtually anyone in Kenya can make use of Airtel Money, even under 18s (provided that their account is registered in the name of a parent or authorised guardian). To get started, all you need to do is visit any authorised Airtel outlet in Kenya with your phone and some form of photo identification to sign up for a 100% free Airtel Money account.
Once signed up, you can ‘top-up’ your Airtel Money account at Airtel owned shops, Airtel agents, as well as selected oil & gas stations, supermarkets and banks. The fees (tariffs and charges) involved with Airtel Money in Kenya are negligible which is another reason why this is such a popular online gambling payment method across the country.
For instance, all transfer to other Airtel Money users is free, as are transfers to unregistered users. The only fees are withdrawal charges from Airtel Money agents. In addition, making deposits to or cashing out from your online gambling account is convenient and fast. For instance, here are the steps you need to follow to use Airtel Money to its full potential:
- To begin, make sure you have signed up with a Kenyan online sportsbook or casino, and that you have added funds to your Kenyan Airtel Money account.
- Once you’ve logged in to your online gambling site, access your Airtel Money account on your mobile phone and choose the “Make Payments” option, followed by “Pay Bill”.
- Click on the “Others” option and enter the site’s business name (which will likely be a 6-digit number), then the sum you’d like to deposit, then your unique Airtel Money PIN and finally a reference (typically the name of your bookmaker or casino) before proceeding.
- As soon as you click “Send,” you should receive an SMS confirming that your funds have been debited from your Airtel Money account and sent to your beneficiary.
- Check your online gambling account and you should see that your newly transferred funds already reflect, ready for you to place your bets or play your favourite real money online or mobile casino games.
M-PESA (mobile money transfer)
M-PESA is another highly popular mobile money transfer method of payment widely used by Kenyan online betting and gambling fans to fast and efficiently fund and cash out their online accounts. Launched in 2007 by top UK telecommunications firm Vodafone for Kenyan mobile network operator Safaricom and South African mobile communications company Vodacom, M-PESA is one of the country’s most used and trusted banking options.
Like its rival Airtel Money, M-PESA is available 24/7, 365 days a year and allows you to make quick, easy and painless payments, pay your bills, transfer money and much more. To use M-PESA as an online gaming payment method, the first thing you have to do is sign up for an M-PESA account which is quick and simple to do at any authorised M-PESA agent nationwide in Kenya.
There are two ways to do this. One, if you have an old Safaricom sim card you can upgrade it to a new sim card (which has the all-important M-PESA menu) for a nominal fee of Ksh50. Or two, if you are new to Safaricom, you can register for a new M-PESA-account 100% free of charge as follows.
Simply visit your nearest authorised M-PESA agent with your phone and ID. There, you’ll be required to fill out a registration form with your full name, date of birth, unique mobile number (issued by Safaricom) and an original ID document such as your National ID, Military ID, Passport or Alien ID to verify your identity.
One the agent has found your application and documents to be in order and input your information on the system, you should be sent an SMS confirming that your registration was a success, along with a 4-digit PIN. To activate your M-PESA menu on your account, navigate to the Safaricom menu on your phone and choose the M-PESA option.
Then select ‘Activate’ or ‘Wezesha’, enter the 4-digit number you were sent (the Start Key), create a new PIN (be sure to keep this private), confirm your new PIN and finally enter your ID number that you registered with. After completing these steps successfully, you’ll be sent a special M-PESA menu and a unique word which you must remember and keep secret.
The reason fort this is that whenever you call M-PESA Customer Support you’ll be asked for your unique word as a way of verifying your identity. Likewise, you must keep your new PIN safe and secret because you’ll need it to send or withdraw funds from your account. You can add funds to your M-PESA account at any authorised M-PESA agent.
Now you’re ready to fund your online sports betting or online casino account so you can get betting and playing, which you can do by following the steps highlighted below:
- Navigate to M-PESA Menu on your mobile phone
- Select the option Lipa na M-PESA (Lipa na M-PESA is the service that lets you pay fund online account as well as pay for goods and services)
- Select ‘Pay Bill’
- Enter the ‘Business Number’ (M-PESA reference) as supplied by your gaming site
- Enter the ‘Account Number’ as supplied by your gaming site
- Enter the amount to deposit without punctuation i.e. 1000 instead of 1,000
- Enter your unique M-PESA PIN and click Send
- Expect to receive an SMS to confirm that your M-PESA transaction was successful