The Influence of Betting Advertising in Kenya

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Gambling and advertising are two concepts that seem to be inseparable in Kenya. The Media Council of Kenya recently conducted a nationwide investigation into the link between the two, and the results were staggering. Almost half of Kenyans admitted that they bet based on advertisements, with Western and Nyanza being the most susceptible to this influence.

Western and Nyanza experience the highest percentage of influence, as 56 percent of correspondents in these areas confessed that they bet based on ads. Other locations investigated included Coast, Rift Valley and Eastern. Correspondents in these areas similarly admitted to advertising influencing their betting. In Central and North Eastern, Kenyans appear to be less impacted.

Should Gambling Advertising be allowed?

But what do Kenyans actually think about gambling advertising? The Media Council of Kenya found that 59 percent of people believe it should be allowed. In comparison, the remaining 41 percent think it should be the contrary. 

This sentiment was also reflected in a similar survey conducted by The Footy Tipster, which found that most Kenyans believe gambling news shared in the media is beneficial. Many agree that industry information allows bettors to make smarter bets.

When it comes to advertising platforms, social media seems to be the preferred choice for Kenyan bettors. The Footy Tipster survey found that social media provides the best promotions, making it the go-to platform for many.

Gambling Advertising Opinions

The Media Council of Kenya asked locals whether gambling advertising should be allowed. Kenyans in Rift Valley felt strongest about the question, with 67 percent agreeing it should be allowed. In Nairobi, correspondents were more sceptical, with only 58 percent thinking gambling advertising should be allowed.

The conclusion drawn by The Council is that a majority of Kenyans feel gambling adverts are acceptable.

Correspondents were also asked if they had seen a gambling advert the week before the survey. 62 percent said that they had. This led to the next part of the research project. The Council then focused on which platforms are most commonly used for gambling advertising.

Where is Gambling Advertising Focused?

Kenyans were asked where they commonly see gambling adverts. 43 percent indicated they’d last seen an ad on TV. The next most common platform is radio, with 26 percent. The least common platform was social media, with just 13 percent.

Giving more focus to social media, the platform doesn’t necessarily deal in direct advertising. Instead, social media markets with influencers. Many Kenyan influencers have taken on the role of paid gambling ambassadors. Ambassadors market without necessarily pushing advertisements.

The reality is that some influencers are still paid directly by gambling companies.

Advertising Revenue Turnover

According to Reelforge and TIFA Research, advertising is a big business in Kenya. An enormous Ksh95 billion is given to media houses for advertising. Of that total, 22 percent relates to gambling. This means that gambling marketing is worth more than even telecommunications advertising. Consumer goods marketing also clocks in less than that spent by gambling organizations.

The advertising giants in Kenya are Supa 5, Lotto SportPesa and Shabiki. Combined, these companies virtually own media marketing in the country.

Along with fierce advertising, Kenyan gambling is seeing many emerging trends. These trends are often combined with a push in media marketing. The most commonly seen trend is live betting. Live betting allows Kenyans to place a bet even if a sporting event is underway.

Another big trend is the digitization of gambling. Kenyans are now able to bet from their smartphone or other portable devices. Competitive odds are also becoming increasingly important, with Kenyan betting companies fighting to offer the best odds to attract new customers.

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