Telecommunications giant Safaricom on Friday suspended the SMS shortcodes as well as pay bills numbers for 27 betting firms. 

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This is in compliance with an order given by the Betting Control and Licensing Board which regulates the betting industry. 

Betin and SportPesa which are the two of the biggest players in the market were among those who were affected by the decision. 

Business Daily reports that the reason for the suspension of the pay bill numbers is due to the firm's licenses not being up to date.

Consequently, customers who were attempting to send money to their accounts were unable to do so. For instance, those who tried to top up their accounts on SportPesa were instead met with a text message saying, "Failed, dear customer this paybill is unavailable due to the government directive  to suspend Betting Paybill numbers, Kindly contact your Betting Company." 

It remains to be seen on what will be the way forward as some of the affected firms have already secured court orders to continue being in operation.

The betting industry which has not been around for long has seen an exponential growth in its operations which has seen more players join the market. 

So lucrative is the market that it generates revenues totalling up to Sh200 billion on an annual basis. 

Betting firms have been splashing the media with advertisements all over and endorsing some of the big names as ambassadors. They have also been sponsoring teams not just locally but also in the English Premier League.