Just days after popular betting firm SportPesa and Betin shut down operations in Kenya, Kieni MP Kanini Kega has termed it good riddance.
Speaking during a Sunday service at Kabiruini PCEA in Nyeri, Kega admitted that it was sad that the companies packed their bags but on the flip side, betting does not create wealth.
“Betting does not create wealth. It is unfortunate that the two firms closed shop. I know a few people who were employed lost their jobs, but I insist that the kind of companies we are going to support are those that come in terms of industries that will create job opportunities for our people but not addiction,” he remarked.
He further added that Kenya welcomes investors but the betting business ‘does not any value.
“As a government we welcome those companies that want to invest in our country, those who will create wealth for our people, but some investors like those engaging in betting business are not adding any value,” said the legislator.
SportPesa halted operations in Kenya and expressed disappointment with the 20% excise tax on all betting stakes.
The company stated that it would only resume operations once a non-hostile regulatory environment is restored.
“SportPesa is disappointed with the decision by the Kenyan legislature to impose a 20% excise tax on all betting stakes.
“The tax is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by the Rotich led treasury of how revenue generation works in the bookmaker industry.
“Until such time that adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment is returned, the SportPesa brand will halt operations in Kenya,” read a statement seen by Ureport.
It further read: “This will have severe consequences for licensed betting companies, which dutifully pay their taxes and ultimately will lead to a decline in government tax revenue to near zero and will halt all investments in sports in Kenya.”
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa termed the move a major loss since local football had lost sponsorship worth around Sh600m.