Poker in Kenya

Introduction

Population: 52,570,000

Capital: Nairobi

Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KSH)

Time Zone: UTC+3

Casinos with Poker

  • Casino FlaminGO
  • Finix Casino
  • Golden Key Casino

In Kenya, a large African nation part of the British Empire until 1963, land based gambling is not only legal, it’s also quite popular. According to a 2017 survey by PwC Kenya, one of the country’s leading professional services firms, it’s actually in the top 3 gambling markets in Africa. They’re only behind South Africa (in first place) and Nigeria.

In the latest available data in the study, in 2017, the combined gross gambling revenue for Kenyan casinos was ZAR325 million ($22.85 million). That may be small by European or American standards, but it’s large for an African nation.

That sum was produced by the 30 licenced casinos operating within Kenya, according to Worldcasinodirectory.com’s numbers. The vast majority of them, 21, are located in the capital city of Nairobi. The website lists 16 poker rooms among those casinos. That’s quite a sizable selection, compared to other African nations.

However, poker is not the most popular game of choice for Kenyan gamblers – it’s sports betting. More specifically, betting on European soccer games. According to a survey by GeoPoll, 82% of people who gamble in the country have an account with at least one online sportsbook.

Famous Kenyan Poker Players

Interestingly, the Hendon Mob, the premier live tournament database out there, doesn’t have a Kenyan all time money list. They have such a list for the majority of the countries. However, they do list a total of 8 players from Kenya in their database.

Out of those 8, Purity Mutinda has the most in live tournament cashes, $55,340. He collected that with a single cash he got for winning the CFA880,000 Main Event at the Dakar Poker Tour in January 2020. He beat the French poker pro Sebastien Compte heads-up for the title.

As for online poker, a player who plays under the screen name “mbatha55” on 888Poker and “michellembatha” on partypoker from Nairobi, Kenya has cashed for $19,518 in online MTT’s during his career.

 

– Playing Live Poker in Kenya –

   Live Poker Legislation in Kenya

According to ICLG.com, the Fourth Schedule of the Kenyan Constitution (written just a decade ago, in 2010) assigns the national and county governments to be in charge of gambling in the country. Evidently, this is not specific enough, so there was quite a lot of elaboration needed by the relevant legislature.

The Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee specified the exact roles in a 2017 report. The national government develops the industry’s standards and norms, regulates the casinos and enforces compliance; while the county governments licence the premises and authorize lotteries and prize competitions within their countries, among others. Both national and county governments do regular spot checks and daily supervision of casinos.

The body within the national government that is in charge of gambling in Kenya is called the Betting Control and Licencing Board.

  Live Poker Venues in Kenya

There’s plenty of casinos with poker rooms in Kenya.

However, unfortunately, none of them provide adequate information about their games on their websites – even if they do have a website, which some of them don’t… We know the fact that they do have poker rooms based on brief information on their websites, their Google reviews, or third-party sites.

So, alas, all we can do is list a number of these casinos that we are fairly confident have poker rooms running. If you need additional details, you need to contact them directly.

These venues are: Casino FlaminGO in the capital city of Nairobi, Finix Casino also in Nairobi, and the Golden Key Casino in the coastal resort town of Mombasa.

One Kenyan casino, the Mayfair Casino & Club bears the name of the famous – now shut down – underground poker club in New York City. Despite that, they only offer versions of poker which you play against the house; not classic poker games like Hold’em or PLO.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Kenya –

Casino FlaminGO

Finix Casino

Golden Key Casino

  Online Poker in Kenya

For a long time, online gambling wasn’t distinguished from land based gambling in any way in the eyes of Kenyan law. However, that changed in 2019, when the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming (Online Gaming) regulations was issued by the government.

According to the decree, any online gambling site must provide the Betting Control Board all relevant information about how their gaming servers, as well as their registration process, works before they can legally operate in Kenya. They also must open an in-house customer care center in the country.

This new measure makes all major online poker sites illegal in Kenya – technically. Luckily, the government doesn’t make any efforts to curtail the playing of online poker on foreign sites by their citizens. That means that they don’t even block URL’s, let alone prosecute players in Kenya.