Betsafe, a Betsson brand online gaming company, has just inked three-year sponsorship deals with Kenyan Football clubs AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia. Both clubs have been going through tough times financially ever since their previous sponsor, Sportpesa, withdrew their sponsorship.
As of the moment, Betsafe does not operate in Kenya, but Tom Bwana, public relations and partner manager of Bet High Kenya (Betsson’s Kenyan subsidiary), explained that Betsafe plans to enter the Kenyan market in the next couple of months.
“We will be launching in the Kenyan market very soon and our top priority is to support Kenyan football,” Bwana said.
Betsafe will be the main shirt sponsor for the two Nairobi-based clubs, which had been previously sponsored by sports betting brand Sportpesa. However Sportpesa cancelled all sport sponsorship agreements in the country back in August 2019 after the Kenyan authorities told telecom companies to block payments to the operator over a dispute on taxes for betting stakes.
Sportpesa withdrew from the Kenyan market on September last year, after more tax on stakes was implemented and the operator has not yet returned, despite a court ruling on November 2019 deciding that the initial controversial tax ought to be imposed on player winnings instead.
According to Kenyan media reports, both clubs ended up facing serious financial problems after Shortpesa withdrew as their sponsor. In fact, each team resorted to asking for funds after they were forced to delay paying player wages.
Ambrose Rachier, Gor Mahia chairman, said that the club was in need of a long-term financial sponsor and he was pleased to have found a reliable partner in Betsafe.
“We are very happy to announce this deal with Betsafe,” Rachier said. “It is a very welcome message to all our fans that we have secured long-term financial support from a strong and safe partner.”
“With Betsafe, we get an engaged and reliable partner with a focus on responsible gaming, but also a partner who shares our passion and values about football and the excitement that comes with it,” he added.