Interior CS Fred Matiang’I has announced plans to introduce a betting policy in the country in an effort to control the gaming industry.
The policy will introduce new laws in the largely unregulated betting industry, with the CS saying that it’s about time the sector is “cleaned up”.
The new regulations will be covered in a new gaming Bill, which will be soon tabled in parliament.
Among the legislation that will soon come into force is the suspension of all betting agency licenses in the country, until the holders of those licenses provide proof of their tax remittance compliance.
“From July 1, all betting agency licenses in the country stand suspended, until the holders of those licenses provide proof of their tax remittance compliance. The license will only be then renewed if the betting agency complies with the taxes required,” Matiang’i said.
Matiang’i also said young people have become slaves to betting with “76 percent of young people are actively involved in betting.
54 percent of those actively involved in betting are low-income earners, which according to Matiang’i, has seen the young people sink in debt.
Treasury had proposed a 50% betting Tax in The Finance Bill (2017), but MPs shot down the amendment saying it was too punitive.
INTRODUCTION OF 35 percent ‘GAMING TAX’ HITS BETTING INDUSTRY
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Finance Bill into law in June 2017, after it amended The Betting, Lotteries and Gambling Act to increase the tax rates to 35 percent on gross earnings for all betting firms in Kenya, effective from January 1, 2018.
Betting firms decried the tax saying it was too high. Consequently, Kenya’s largest betting firm SportPesa canceled all local sports sponsorship worth an estimated Sh600-750 million per year with immediate effect.
In April last year, Treasury caved in to pressure by the betting firms and reduced gaming tax to 15 percent from the proposed 35 percent.