SportPesa has been the second biggest firm in Kenya after Safaricom. This is according to its revealed annual earnings. The betting firm, according to court papers, made a net profit of Sh. 12.9 billion for its owners in Kenya in its first five years of operation.
This was equivalent to Sh. 215 million net profit every month or Sh. 2.58 billion every month. Previously, a court report had put the figure at a shocking Sh. 149.7 billion every year with average daily bets worth Sh. 408 million in 2018 before its suspension by the government.
In the 2018 financial year, the firm had reportedly paid out Sh. 129.6 billion as winnings. This left it with Sh. 20.1 billion. Out of this, the firm is said to have generated net profit in excess of Sh. 10 billion.
However, in some circles, SportPesa has been rumoured to be making much more than has been revealed. The firm is also said to be owing the Kenya Revenue Authority tens of billions of money that put its reported earnings further in doubt.
But the KRA says in court that its efforts to collect the taxes from Pevans have been frustrated by the company’s alleged criminal activities. “That the preliminary investigations have established that the applicant [Pevans] have jointly and severally been involved in activities suspected to be intricate and complex tax evasion and money laundering syndicate,” Dominic Keng’ara, an investigations officer at KRA, said in a sworn affidavit.
Last year, an official revenue spreadsheet acquired from an insider from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), the gaming regulatory body in Kenya, by the UK-based investigative journalism and training project Finance Uncovered, showed betting operators generated nearly 30 billion in May 2019 alone, with SportPesa accounting for almost two-thirds of it and topping the list.
Further doubts on the SportPesa earnings were reflected in the multi billion deals SportPesa signed. The firm had deals with top clubs in Europe and East Africa, and the Formula One that were worth tens of billions. The firm became famous internationally after it announced a sponsorship deal with Everton FC, the biggest deal in the club’s sponsorship history.