The Betting Control and Licensing Board on Saturday, October 31, suspended the licenses of Milestones Games Limited, which came into the Kenyan market as Sportpesa.
This comes a day after the betting firm received approval from the betting control agency as Milestone Bet.
Taking to Twitter Sportpesa announced on Friday that it was making a comeback in the Kenyan market after more than one year of being locked out due to fighting with the Kenyan Government over tax issues.
BCLB said Sportpesa will have to hold their horses until a court decision is made after the betting firm in 2019 filed an appeal against the government for withdrawing its operating license over tax issues.
In a letter, the BCLB barred Sportpesa from using the trademark pending the court case.
The Betting Control and Licensing Board said had approved Milestone Games Limited, which, upon receiving the go-ahead to operate in Kenya, chose by itself, to rebrand to Sportpesa without getting permission from the betting control agency.
“We note that Milestone Games Limited has been authorized to use the trademark Sportpesa by Sportpesa Global Holdings Limited, whereas during the 2020/2021 Financial Year renewal application, the Board authorized the use of trading name Milestone Bet to yourselves,” BCLB chairperson, Cyrus Maina said in the letter addressed to the operations manager of Milestone Games Limited, Bernard Chauro.
The betting licensing said the trademark Sportpesa belonged to Pevans East Africa Limited and the name was not transferrable since Pevan East Africa Limited had filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal seak to have Sportpesa license renewed.
“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 Bill numbers 521521, 9555700 and 955700 until 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,” Maina said.
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However, Maina authorized the betting firm to continue trading as Milestone Bet, through the domains www.milestonebet.co.ke, www.milestonegames.co.ke, and www.milestonegames.com.
Kenya Revenue Authority said the betting firm as of July 2019, owed the country at least ksh14.9 billion in unpaid taxes, claims that Sportpesa denied, prompting the firm to move to court to protest against the government’s refusal to renew its operating license.