Kenya – SportPesa halting operations due to a drastic hike in taxes

Online sports betting companies such as SportPesa have grown rapidly in the East African nation in recent years, riding a wave of enthusiasm for sports, with the government saying the gaming industry achieved a combined revenue of 204 billion shillings ($2 billion) last year.

That sparked government concern about the social impact of betting, and in May Kenya introduced new gambling regulations, including a ban on advertising outdoors and on social media.

This week, parliament voted an amended proposal raising the excise duty proposed in the 2019/20 (July-June) budget on the amount wagered at the time a bet is placed on all betting platforms to 20% from an initial 10%.

SportPesa said it was “disappointed” by the move and that it would stop its operations until a “non-hostile regulatory environment” returned.

Newspapers Daily Nation and Standard reported that a second firm, Betin Kenya, had also ended its operations, citing the heavy taxation as the main reason. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

Source: Reuters

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