Kenyans used M-Pesa to wager Sh83.2 billion in the six months leading up to September 2021, providing a glimpse into the multi-billion-shilling sports betting business.
According to financial figures revealed by M-Pesa parent company Safaricom yesterday, this was double the amount of betting funds handled through the mobile money transfer service in a similar period last year.
In a single day, this corresponds to Sh422.2 million in betting currency flowing through the M-Pesa platform.
According to the financials, there were 347.8 million betting transactions on M-Pesa in the first half of this year, up from 188.3 million in the same period last year.
Safaricom made Sh2.95 billion from betting in the six months to September 2020, compared to Sh1.48 billion in the previous six months.
Safaricom received Sh5.51 billion in revenue from what consumers paid businesses for products and services, or C2B, which was the company’s second biggest earnings income from “betting and payments.”
The value of the bets increased by 69 percent from Sh49.2 billion a year ago, according to the telco’s reports.
Safaricom, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), and betting companies are the major winners from the increase in betting activity, pocketing billions.
Betting income for the telco increased to Sh2.95 billion from Sh1.48 billion. The taxman is thought to have taken in at least Sh6.2 billion from M-Pesa users.
The KRA collects 7.5 percent of the amount of bets placed, as well as 20% of winnings and corporate taxes from betting companies.
Safaricom half-year results
Safaricom’s half-year net profit increased by 12.1 percent to Sh37.05 billion in September, owing to a return in M-Pesa revenues due to the termination of free State-backed transactions to help clients during the Covid-19 period.
Voice and messaging income increased during the six-month period from April to September 2021, which coincided with the relaxation of Covid-19 limitations.
M-Pesa income increased by 45.8%, or Sh16.4 billion, to Sh52.3 billion in January, thanks to the resumption of charging for transactions under Sh1,000 and increased business activity, which resulted in a 16.9% increase in service revenue to Sh138.4 billion.