Chief Executive Officer of SportPesa betting company, Ronald Karauri, has recently announced his interest in entering politics. In a brief statement to Kenyan newspaper, The Standard, he said that he will run for a seat as a member of parliament in the capital city, Kasanari, in the upcoming August 2022 General Elections. He will be seeking to unseat MP Mercy Gakuya.

Ronald Karauri, however, has not stated which party he will be contesting and said that he would rather decide on it later.

A Tough Road

The CEO has been guiding one of Kenya’s leading betting sites through a rocky period over the past two years. In October 2020, the Kenyan government revoked his company’s betting license over a tax dispute of Sh14.9 billion. With SportPesa’s parent company Pevan East Africa Limited pulling out of the country Karauri went to court many times trying to win back the license.

In December 2020, Milestone Games Limited, a newly registered betting company, took SportPesa under its operating license. Since then, the government’s attempts to revoke the betting company’s license have been met with opposition and countersuits by SportPesa.

At its peak, SportPesa was making tens of millions of shillings a day. This prompted the government to enforce high taxes. Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, expressed his opposition to sports betting, deeming the loss of money to betting to be placing too much stress and hardship on the youth. 

Wins Over Losses

Karauri, however, stated his own belief that the benefits of gambling outweigh the losses. Which he claims are fewer than government reports. He also claims that the “problems” the Kenyan government has with his firm are speculative and unverified. He went further to mention the importance of taking responsibility.

Karauri believes that, as an MP, he will be able to make a big difference in the Kasanari constituency. He has already made donations to charities, clinics, and hospitals, aiming to improve life and gain bids for election in Kenya’s busy capital.

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