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Resurrection of betting industry may be short-lived

Last updated 6 months ago | By Judah Ben-Hur

A proposal to drop the 20  per cent exercise duty on bets staked contained in the Financial bill 2020 signed on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta might be short-lived.

A statement from the Treasury cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani clarifies that the removal of the tax happened at the committee stage of the bill and the CS office will propose the reintroduction of the tax to mitigate vices associated with betting. 

“The National Treasury and Planning will be proposing to the National Assembly, the reintroduction of the exercise duty on betting within the next six months,” read the statement from CS Yatani.

Yatani argues that Betting activities in the country have adversely affected the social fabric our the society and 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,” reads the statement. 

The government has in the past three years taken a steadfast role in muffling the betting industry with the reason of “supporting the youth engage in productive activities through various programs” according to CS Yatani’s statement.

In 2018, the government introduced betting tax at the rate of 15 per cent on betting companies and 20 per cent withholding tax on winnings. In 2019 the government tightened its grip by introducing a 20 per cent exercise duty on amount stake; the last straw for betting companies forcing betting giants like SportPesa, Betin, Elitebet and others to live the Kenyan market.

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