Inside Politics

Milestone and BCLB clash over rights to operate SportPesa

Sunday, December 13th, 2020 12:08 |
SportPesa chief executive Ronald Karauri. Photo/PD/FILE

Intrigues over whether the High Court barred the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) from interfering with the operations of SportPesa continue as the firm maintains it can continue offering services.

The new owners of Sportpesa brand, Milestone Gaming Limited, maintain that High Court judge Pauline Nyamweya barred the BCLB from revoking its licence.

This follows the regulator's cancellation of the firm's licence, a day before the court order when the firm directors appeared before it, to show cause why the permit should not be expunged.

The dilemma is whether the orders affected BCLB’s cancellation as it did not address itself to the document directly.

The High Court had barred BCLB from interfering with the operations of gaming firm SportPesa after Milestone sought the court's intervention to stop an earlier decision by BCLB stopping it from using the name ‘SportPesa’ and the domain

High Court Judge Pauline Nyamweya on December 3 issued orders prohibiting BCLB from interfering with Milestone’s business and operations pending the hearing and determination of the matter.

Justice Nyamweya ruled: “In the circumstances, in order to prevent abuse of the process of court and in the interest of justice, it is my finding that the extension of the stay orders sought is merited and justified and to prevent imminent further actions by the Respondent."

Therefore, Milestone Games Limited maintained it is legally entitled to continue using the ‘SportPesa’ name and domain as well as the shortcode 29050 and Paybill numbers, despite attempts by the regulator to shut them down.

Milestone had moved to court on December 2, seeking to bar the regulator from meddling in its business after the regulator wrote to the company on November 24, asking Milestone to show cause why its licence should not be cancelled after changes in its shareholding.

The betting firm argued that the notice to show cause by BCLB amounted to a violation of the orders issued by the High Court on November 16 prohibiting the betting regulator from interfering with the company’s business and operations.

The firm that previously operated the Sportspesa platform Pevans East Africa Limited is named alongside Safaricom, Airtel and Communications Authority of Kenya as interested parties. The case will be heard next year January 25.

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