Kenyans are spending up to Sh. 169 billion betting on M-Pesa. This translates to spending Sh. 463 million every day on bets. has been revealed through the Safaricom financial results for the year ended March 31.
The financial results show that the value of bets jumped 23.8 per cent from Sh. 136 billion a year earlier. This saw Safaricom’s revenue from betting rise 40 per cent to Sh. 5.98 billion last year.
At the same time, the volume of bets funded from M-Pesa accounts surged 39 per cent to 732.2 million.
Betting is now the second-largest business line by revenue under M-Pesa’s business payments after business-to-consumer (B2C), which generated sales of Sh. 11.4 billion in the year to March.
The government last year reintroduced excise duty on betting stakes to 7.5 percent, which means the government first takes Sh. 7.50 for every Sh. 100 a gambler places as a bet irrespective of winnings.
It also takes 20 per cent on winnings and levies additional taxes on the betting firms in efforts meant to make gambling unattractive.
In the financial results, Safaricom announced that its net profit for a full year has dropped for the second time. The company posted a 1.7 percent drop in net profit to Sh. 67.49 billion. These were the company’s first financial results to include its Ethiopian operations.
In the previous year, Safaricom’s profit had dipped by 6.8 per cent. This was the first in nine years.
If the company had excluded its Ethiopia operations, it would have posted a 12.2 per cent net profit growth to Sh. 77 billion.
The firm’s M-Pesa revenue jumped by 38.3 per cent to Sh. 107.7 billion. This jump was supported by the return to charging of transactions below Sh. 1,000 and improved business activity contributing to a 12.3 percent jump in service revenue to Sh. 281 billion.
M-Pesa handled transactions worth Sh. 29.5 trillion during the year and contributed 38.3 per cent of the telco’s service revenue.