The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) on Saturday the 31st of October 2020, suspended the license of Milestone Games Limited from using Sportpesa tradename .
This comes a day after Sportpesa announced there come back into operations after a year of being out of Kenyan markets due to scuffles with the Government over taxes. Sportpesa CEO, Ronald Karauri announced their comeback via a twitter post.
In a letter addressed to Milestone Games Limited, the BLCB barred Sportpesa from using the name pending their court case. The board put across that Sportpesa will have to wait until a ruling is made on their case against the Government.
Sportpesa filed for a retrial against the government in 2019, for withdrawing its operations license over tax scuffles. The betting firm was alleged to have owed the government an accumulation of atleast 14.9 billion unpaid dues in taxes, at the end of financial year 2019. Sportpesa however denied the allegations and set to court to protest against it’s denial to renew operations
According to the BCLB, Milestone Games Limitted chose to rebrand itself to Sportpesa without geeting approval from the betting control agency ,despite getting consent to operate in Kenya but under a diferent name.
“We note that Milestone Games Limited has been authorised to use the trademark Sportpesa by Sportpesa Holdings Limited ,whereas during the 2020/2021 Financial Year renewal application, the Board authorised the use of trading name ‘Milestone Bet’ to yourselves,” said Maina Cyrus, BCLB Chairperson in the letter to Bernard Chauro , the operations manager of Milestone Games Limited.
“You(Milestone Games Limited )are therefore prohibited from using the tradename Sportpesa ,the domains www.ke.sportpesa.com ,www.sportpesa.co.ke ,shortcodes 29050,and 79079, Pay Bll numbers 521521, 9555700 and 955700 untill such a time when the Court of Appeal shall make a determination on the pending appeal and until the Board considers your request to use them.
“However , you are authorised to continue trading as Milestone Bet, through the domains www.milestonebet.co.ke, www.milestonegames.co.ke and www.milestonegames.com,”
The Betting Control and Licensing Board also addreseed the letter to the Acting Director -General of the Communications Authority of Kenya ,Mercy Wanjau, and Safaricom’s PLC’S Legal Officer Daniel Ndaba.