Kenyan betting company Sportpesa continues with its aggressive global expansion. Months after launching in Tanzania, the company has entered the Italian market by acquiring a majority shareholding stake in RCS Gaming, a licensed gaming operator which is part of RCS Media Group.

The acquisition is through the holding company, Sportpesa Global, headquartered in the UK.

Sportpesa now owns 75% of the Gazzabet brand, which will be renamed Sportpesa. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gazzabet is however a minor player in the Italian gambling market, controlling less than 1% of the total market. In the entire 2016, their sportbook and casino revenue totaled to about KSh200 million. This is in huge contrast to Sportpesa which is thought to make just as much in a single day.

The deal also calls for SportPesa to enter a five-year advertising contract to promote its new Italian betting brand via various RCS Media Group outlets, including the Corriere della Sera daily newspaper and the La7 television channel.

Sportpesa Global is the company in charge of representing the betting firm’s interest outside its biggest market Kenya. They have already made inroads in countries like the UK, South Africa, Tanzania and now Italy.

The recent motivation to expand to other markets stems from Kenya government’s move to hike tax from the current 7.5% to 35% of revenue.

But still, the Kenyan market remains their bread and butter.

Sportpesa Global is led by CEO Gerasim Nikolov from Bulgaria, while the Kenyan unit is led by Ronald Karauri.


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