NAIROBI, December 16- The mushrooming local sports betting industry expanded on Wednesday to include the latest player; global gaming company Intralot who announced their partnership with Acumen Communications Limited (ACL) to launch mCHEZA.
“mCHEZA is a simple, fun and interactive platform on which fans can put their money on football games across 277 leagues globally. Registration can be done by simply sending the word ‘cheza’ to 29888. mCHEZA will leverage the mobile money platform M-PESA which has over 13.9 million monthly users,” the firm outlined at the launch in Nairobi.
Speaking at a press conference, mCHEZA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Karimi noted that the partnership will invest USD15m (Sh1,533,699,989.88) across East Africa over the next 3 years in order to raise the profile and impact of sports gaming in the region.
“At launch phase Mcheza is a pre-game betting platform. Numerous sports, markets and betting modes will be incorporated on the platform in Quarter 1 of 2016 with live betting to follow thereafter. The platform is working on a strategic expansion plan into other East African markets from 2016,” he added.
ACL Director and renowned television newscaster, Julie Gichuru, noted mCHEZA will scout for and uplift Kenya’s highly talented but less fortunate footballers at county level. They are also looking to sponsor national teams in various sports fields.
“Over and above being fun, mCHEZA is nurturing local talent by identifying and sponsoring local sports initiatives that try to uplift the living standards of the marginalized through sport. We are also pleased that this partnership with Intralot will build credibility among our customers by holding high standards in gaming,” she expounded.
On his part, Intralot Vice-President Business Development, Europe and Africa, Antonis Markopuolos, cited their research indicated an increased potential in the growth of gaming Africa.
“Africa’s appreciation for sports has also indicated an increased interest in gaming across the continent. By investing in this market, we look forward to improving the lives of Kenyans as they connect with their favorite teams,” he said.
mCHEZA’s aggressive countrywide marketing campaign will be spearheaded by Arimus Media Limited. Other corporate organizations that are working closely with mCHEZA include EABL.
ACL Marketing Lead Consultant John Seel noted that strategic partnerships have been put in place in order to engage better with customers.
“We have engaged diverse and reputable organizations in order to ensure an all-round valuable customer experience, ranging from entertainment to financial management,” he underscored.
Fans can load their gaming wallet via M-PESA Paybill number 295525, and play as many times as possible by sending a short text message to 29888.
The first 10,000 people to sign up to mCHEZA will receive Sh100 credit in their game account. Acumen Communications Limited is authorized and regulated by the Betting Control and Licencing Board of Kenya under the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, Cap 131, Laws of Kenya.
Audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that Kenyan gaming industry generated more than Sh1.98 billion in revenue in 2014. By 2018, the report authors, total gaming in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria will be worth $37 billion.