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REPRIEVE FOR BETTING FIRMS AS PARLIAMENT VOTES AGAINST 50 PC TAX INCREASE

Sports betting in Kenya on the rise

MPs voted to shoot down the proposal by the Treasury to impose a 50 percent tax on betting firms.

The legislatures, who were voting for the second time, argued that the proposed 50 PC tax, which was to be paid after paying out winnings, was punitive and likely to kill the sector.

“The economic benefits of standardised, regulated betting cannot be overstated. To tax gross revenues at 50 percent is to send all betting firms to their grave,” said Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.

Betting companies will now continue to pay tax at the rate of 7.5 percent, casinos and other gaming companies 12 per cent, lotteries at five per cent and prize competitions at 15 per cent.

For competitions in which one has to pay to take part, the prize competition tax has been set at 15 percent of the total gross turnover.

There has been an uproar from betting and gaming firms since Finance Minister Henry Rotich proposed the 50 percent tax increase in March this year during his 2017/18 Budget presentation in Parliament.

Kenya’s sports betting giant SportPesa is among the players that termed Treasury’s proposal as counter-productive, saying any planned increases in tax should be done in consultation with stakeholders.

The Kenya Betting Control and Licensing Authority will have the power to regulate and control the operation of betting and gaming and conduct of lotteries and prize competition.

Betting has gained popularity in Kenya especially from 2014 with a myriad of firms setting shop in the country.

Early this month, Sport Pesa made one of the biggest payouts in African history after 28-year-old Samuel Abisai won a Mega Jackpot (Sh221, 301,602),

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