Amne Suedi, founder of Shikana Law Group, hopes that the conflict will be settled for the betterment of the industry, and more importantly, for Kenya
As the fight for superiority intensifies in the gaming industry, foreign gaming firms in Kenya have accused their local counterparts of deliberately damaging their brands in hopes of gaining an unfair advantage.
Despite the strict regulations and guidelines set in place by the Kenyan government, the gaming industry continues to thrive and it has been speculated that the local industries are trying to build up their customer base by whatever means they seem fit.
SiGMA reached out to Amne Suedi, the Founder and Principal of Shikana Law Group, to give a deeper insight into the situation:
In Africa, there is always a fine balance that needs to be struck between foreign and local investors’ interests where foreign investors are perceived as having an unfair advantage over local investors.
The gaming reforms that Kenya saw the last years where gaming licenses were suspended and revoked affected many foreign companies in the gaming industry in Kenya however I am not entirely sure it will be fair to claim that this was a result of a “smear campaign” by local companies.
Indeed, there were foreign companies like local companies that were not complying and it was important for the government of Kenya to address this and set a level playing field.
I think it is important to understand that in terms of where we have reached in the development of the sector, foreign direct investment is very much needed and has a role to play in the development of the gaming sector in Kenya.
Therefore, let us hope that the conflict that exists will be addressed and settled for the betterment of the development of the sector and Kenya at large.
Although the 'smear campaigns' have mostly been spread via social media, foreign brands have faced the severity of the "unsubstantiated accusations."
A stakeholder in the betting industry while speaking to the Nairobi News said,
The most recent example is when SportPesa left the market in 2019. We witnessed a careful smear campaign before that happened. There were accusations its foreign owners were involved in shady practices but we never saw them taken to court.
So far, Kenya has 50 registered betting companies and they have made a tremendous contribution to the economy estimated at billions of shillings each year on tax payment.
These companies have also contributed to the health sector, easing financial pressure on the sector while other corporations have flexed their financial muscles in Kenya's sporting scene by sponsoring Premier League clubs and smaller sport events.
Amne Suedi will feature on the upcoming issue of SiGMA's magazine where she discusses the top emerging markets in Africa, the potential of mobile betting in Africa and the regulatory process in Africa as well as more interesting and engaging topics. Be sure to check out what she'll have to say on our next issue which is due in May.
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