HomeEastern africaKenyaOpera Software Ireland Limited Ordered to Unblock Betting Firm in Kenya

Opera Software Ireland Limited Ordered to Unblock Betting Firm in Kenya

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has directed multinational technology firm Opera Software Ireland Limited to unblock a local betting firm and allow its customers to access the site.

The CAK stated that Opera’s actions have caused financial harm to Odibets by denying punters access and redirecting them to rival betting sites. The directive will remain in force until the completion of an ongoing investigation between Odibets and Opera.

“Opera Software Ireland Limited is directed to, with immediate effect, cease and desist from causing financial harm by blocking Odibets from accessing its browser and from further redirecting its customers to other betting sites,”

– CAK says in the notice issued on Wednesday last week.

This decision comes at a time when betting firms have been prohibited from displaying advertisements on Opera’s speed dial feature without approval from the betting regulator.

The High Court had previously directed the Betting and Licensing Control Board (BCLB) to ensure that betting firms refrain from using the speed dial feature for online advertising. The BCLB had cautioned against the use of this feature as it promotes betting services without considering the age and vulnerability of internet users.

Odibets, owned by Kareco Holdings Limited, is among the 128 betting firms vying for a share of Kenya’s multibillion-shilling gambling industry. Kenya boasts one of the largest betting industries on the continent, characterized by intense competition among companies.

Between 2018 and 2022, gamblers in Kenya placed bets totaling Sh620.97 billion, highlighting the popularity of gambling in the country. As of the end of 2022, Kenya also had the highest percentage of young gamblers in Africa, with 76% of them engaging in gambling activities.

Despite increased taxation on both punters and betting firms, the gambling industry in Kenya has continued to thrive. Many unemployed Kenyans, particularly the youth, view gambling as a quick way to earn money in the face of high unemployment rates.

The details of the ongoing investigation between Odibets and Opera have not been disclosed. However, the CAK’s ruling aims to ensure fair competition in the betting industry and protect the interests of customers. Opera, which had approximately 13.5 million users in Kenya at the end of last year, mainly caters to users of feature phones.

Aniedi Ekwere
Aniedi Ekwere
Author/Consultant Find More Africa/AA Advisory, We provide betting reviews, thought leadership articles in the emerging markets, business development on products/ platforms in Africa with solid networking relationships with gaming operators in Africa, and Expertise in PR and marketing communication, and iGaming Consulting Services.

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