The future of formal betting industry in Kenya hangs in the balance as haggling over taxes takes a toll on companies and employees.
Sportpesa is the latest to exit the market , citing revenue deterioration after its license was revoked over a tax dispute. Over 400 will be lost.
The firm, which operated Chancery House in Nairobi tols its employeed on wednesday that their services were no longer tenable after it announced closure of its business.
Insiders say that more than1,500 jobs are also indirectly affected. Already, Gor Mahia and AFC football clubs are feeling the pinch of the pull-out.
The new tax means that if you place a bet of Sh100, a Sh20is deducted and your bet actually becomes Sh80. This goes completely against how odds works in sports betting.
Betin which also ceased operations in July after the Government declined to renew its licenses, has also fired its staff.
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri regretted the layoffs yesterday but said the firm’s services were no longer tenable following harsh government regulations.
Curiously, however, Sportpesa which is English Football Club Everton’s main sponsor assured that the company’s tax row with the Kenyan Government would not affect the deal with the Preamier League Side. Similarly, it stated that that the firm;s workforce in the Liver Building in Liverpool ,UK, would also not be affected.
Sportpesa like most betting firms has been at loggerheads with the government for months and imposition of a 20% excise duty on all betting stakes was the last straw that brokethe camel’s back.
The tough charges on winnings couls soon see an addition of a 10% duty on amounts staked should President Uhuru Kenyatta assent to the Finance Bill 2019.
Sportpesa clashed sharply with KRA authority over inability to separate staked amounts from actual winnings.
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