Treasury CS Ukur Yatani on Thursday said that he will propose the re-introduction of the betting tax to the National Assembly after six months.
Yatani clarified that the removal of the betting excise duty happened at the committee stage of the bill and not at the executive as earlier perceived.
“Following various consultations and in line with the government’s commitment to mitigating against the social vices associated with betting activities. The National Treasury and Planning will be proposing to the National Assembly, the reintroduction of the excise duty on betting within the next six months,” CS Yatani said in a press statement.
The treasury CS termed betting as a ‘vice’ in our society which must be regulated through taxation.
“Betting activities in the country have adversely affected the social fabric of our society, particularly the youth. In this regard, we wish to reiterate the commitment of the government on taxation of this industry so as to contain such vices,” Yatani noted in a press release.
The government has been heavily taxing the betting industry
Since 2018, the government has been heavily taxing the betting industry. In 2018, the government introduced a 15 per cent tax on betting companies and 20 per cent withholding tax on winnings. In 2019, the government introduced another 20 per cent tax on the amount staked. This resulted in the exit of major players in the industry such as SportPesa, leading to at least 400 job losses.
“Following the introduction of these measures, the players in the industry have been petitioning the government to reduce taxation in the industry,” Yatani noted.
Now that the excise duty has been dropped, several betting companies have applied for licenses. However, the Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i told Daily Nation that most betting companies are yet to meet the set conditions.
“We are waiting to get the license from BCLB that will allow us to resume our operations in Kenya. Once we have any new developments we shall communicate through our official communication channels,” SportPesa told a concerned fan on June 24, 2020.