President Kenyatta signed a Finance Bill that removed the 209 percent excise tax on sports wagering. However, the government made a 180-degree turn when Kenya reintroduces sports betting tax.
The government had a change of heart that would impact the sports betting industry in the country. The high revenue tax was the reason the two largest sports wagering companies in the country stopped their operations.
According to sportsbook pay per head reports, an unknown investor from the US acquired a majority share in Sportpesa, one of the biggest sportsbooks in East Africa. The new player might influence how the company will operate in the region.
Kenya Reintroduces Sports Betting Tax
The government removed the excise tax in the Finance Act 2020. However, Ukur Yatani, Treasury Cabinet Secretary, told Bookie Pay Per Head sources that the government hasn’t reneged its commitment to tax the sports betting industry.
The removal of the sports betting tax happened during the committee stage. The National Treasure and Planning will propose the reintroduction of the excise tax on sports betting within six months.
BookiePayPerHead learned that the excise tax is to make gambling unattractive to the youth. The government wants the youth to participate in productive activities instead of betting on sports. Also, the Finance Act doesn’t allow the reintroduction of a new tax bill within a period of six months. Thus, the industry has six months to enjoy low taxes
According to the Gaming Awareness Society of Kenya, the removal of the excise tax on betting is not a cause of celebration but concern. It will attract more sportsbooks to invest in the country. Also, gambling addiction will be out of control if there are no public health measures to protect the youth.
Removing the sports betting tax was not part of the deal when the committee first released the Finance Bill to the public last May.
At present, lawmakers don’t have any plans of adding sports betting taxes.