SportPesa: High Court quashes bid to have betting licence renewed


SportPesa: High Court quashes bid to have betting licence renewed
High Court judge John Mativo Photo/Courtesy

In Summary

  • The High Court has dismissed a case filed by Pevans East African Limited challenging Betting Control and Licensing Board's (BCLB) decision to cancel its operational license.
  • In the suit, SportPesa says that it had not broken any regulatory requirements and conducted its business according to the law.

The High Court has dismissed a case filed by Pevans East Africa Limited challenging Betting Control and Licensing Board’s (BCLB) decision to cancel its operational license.

In the case, Pevans East Africa Limited, which operates as SportPesa had moved to the High Court seeking compensation for money lost since the government shutdown began.

The court, in its verdict said that it cannot re-write a contract willfully entered by the parties nor can it quash the letter to open the door to the petitioner to operate without a licence.

“The circumstances of this case are that the petitioner’s licence has expired. Even if the court quashes the decision there is no basis the petitioner can operate on an expired licence,”court ruled.

Justice John Mativo further noted that there is no material placed before the court to demonstrate that the above tests have been satisfied, adding that an injunction cannot be issued.

Mativo said that SportPesa failed to demonstrate that the government violated its constitutional rights adding that there would be no basis for the court to award damages.

“The claim for damages for alleged loss of business is legally frail, damages must be pleaded and proven,” he ruled.

Mativo said that the betting firm never pleaded with specifically the alleged loss or details to form a basis for the claim and that a claim for the loss of business by nature requires oral evidence which was not offered in the case.

It was the government submission that the petitioner can apply for the license afresh once they meet the set conditions, and the same will be considered in accordance with the law.

The betting company also accused the state of refusal to renew its license and wanted the court to stop a directive by the government to Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom to suspend its M-Pesa pay bills and SMS shortcodes.

“The action of the respondents are not unreasonable, irrational and highhanded but also clearly amounts to deliberate abuse of office and state power to achieve ulterior ends,” SportPesa argued.

In the suit, SportPesa says that it had not broken any regulatory requirements and conducted its business according to the law.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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