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35% tax will kill sports: Research shows that 60 per cent of citizens are against huge taxes on betting firms

SPORTS By Gilbert Wandera | August 2nd 2017

Local federations, fearing for future of sports, to lobby government on taxation

Most Kenyans do not support the recent legislation imposing a 35 per cent tax on betting companies, according to an opinion poll conducted by Tifa Research.

At the same time, sports federations plan to form a lobby group to persuade the Government to set aside the new law.

According to the research, 60 per cent of Kenyans do not support the new law, with just 22 per cent endorsing it. 

Seven counties

The research was carried out in seven counties - Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Meru, Nyeri, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Kakamega - and involved 822 respondents.

Among the reasons respondents gave for not supporting the legislation are fear that it will lead to unemployment and reduce sponsorship for sporting events.

Respondents also expressed fears that the law would kill the betting industry.

The research also found that the high taxation is unlikely to deter people from betting. More than 60 per cent of the respondents said they would continue to bet, but on international platforms.

Maggie Ireri, a director of Tifa, said the research also revealed that betting companies are the leading sponsors of sports events.

Sportpesa and Betway were rated among the top companies sponsoring local sports, with the former at 82 per cent and the latter 21 per cent.

Other top companies supporting sports are Safaricom (35 per cent), East Africa Breweries Limited (20 per cent), FKF (19 per cent), Government of Kenya (10 per cent) KCB (10 per cent), and Britam (2 per cent).

“We traversed various households in these counties and this was a true reflection of what they think about the situation. It is now upon the federations to use this information for their own benefit,” he said. 

Sports federations have proposed the setting up of a lobby group to campaign for the relaxation of the implementation of the law.

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) chief executive officer, Jack Oguda, termed the law ‘punitive’.

“Sports federations are in a dilemma because efforts by some of those affected to seek audience with the Government to have the law annulled or revised have failed,” said Oguda. 

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