Betway Kenya is the third largest gaming and betting operators in Kenya behind Sportpesa and Betin. Originally from the United Kingdom, the company looked to cash in on the betting craze that was sweeping the nation and ventured into Kenya following Betway’s success in Malta, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Germany.
It made headlines in its inception days for its battle with rival Sportpesa for the sponsorship of Kenya Premier League club AFC Leopards. Sportpesa eventually won after promising the former KPL champions a larger purse. It is also the shirt sponsor of English Premier League side West Ham United.
Betway has engaged in CSR activities with several teams across football, volleyball, basketball and golf from benefitting from kits and infrastructural development over the three years of its existence.
The firm has however been obscure on its ownership in recent years despite operating in a regulated market. To shed light on its owners, it can be revealed that it is owned by major corporations and politically influential individuals.
Formed in 2016, Betway Kenya is owned by Bluejay Limited and has 2 Kenyans on its board of directors of five members. The directors are as listed below;
- Kiprono Kittony
Is the immediate former chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the chairman of Radio Africa Limited.
He also sits on the boards of several other organisations including Mtech Limited and Capital Realtime Limited.
He is the son of former Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Chairlady Zipporah Kittony.
- Caroline Jepkemboi Kittony-Waiyaki
Sister to Kiprono Kittony and the only other local director on Betway Kenya’s board.
- Edward Chilton
- Jason Bradley Kramer
- Antony James Gevisser
Registered in September 2015, Bluejay Ltd is owned by a further two companies. Rosehall Global, a foreign firm, which owns 70% of Bluejay.
Betway was fined Sh15 million earlier in the year by the Capital Markets Authority over an irregular merger deal with Maltese company GM Gaming. CMA accused it of transferring majority ownership to the gaming firm in 2015 without seeking its approval in violation of the Competition Act.
Betway Limited was registered in Malta that owns the Betway brand globally. GM Gaming then sold the majority shares to Rosehall Global.
The regulator found Bluejay culpable of violating Section 42(2) of the Company Act which prohibits companies from initiating a merger and changing ownership without following due process. In both transactions, CMA was in the dark on the mergers and the subsequent change of ownership at Betway.
The law requires the regulator to look into mergers where the combined turnover of the merging companies is more than Sh1 billion to investigate how the merger would affect competition before giving the green light.
The remaining 30% of Bluejay is owned by Quadco Three Hundred and Eight Limted, a partnership between Kittony and Radio Africa Limited.
Radio Africa, one of the largest media houses in Kenya, runs the political daily Star newspaper and two radio stations with among the highest audiences, Classic 105 and Kiss 100 FMs.
Quadco Three Hundred and Eight Ltd is owned on a 50-50 basis with Kittony and Radio Africa CEO Patrick Quarcoo as the only directors.