Betway’s Kenyan licence has been reinstated after the bookmaker has agreed to introduce a controversial tax on sports betting stakes and winnings.
Betway now has the green light to offer betting in Kenya again after agreeing to implement 20 per cent on customer’s winnings, Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) announced this week. The reinstatement ends the bookmaker’s month-long absence from the Kenyan market.
The operator originally had its licence revoked over a dispute over the amount of tax that should be paid when a customer wins. Previously, a 20 per cent tax was levied on just the winnings, but now the BCLB has since insisted that under new proposals, the tax should apply to the stake as well as the winnings.
The implementation of the aforementioned tax has led to legal battles and also the revoking of the operating licence for Betway and 26 other operators.
Betway has announced the news of the reinstatement via Twitter and has said in a separate statement that the operator would introduce the tax to ensure “full compliance” for current taxation, rules and laws.
The operator specified that the tax would be clearly indicated on the betting slip to ensure customers understood the tax imposed as well as transparency.
As well as revoking the licences for operators, the BCLB also contacted three of the country’s biggest mobile payment providers and requested that they stop processing payments for the 27 bookmakers. Betway has included the letter that the board sent, along with well-known operators, SportPesa, Dafabet and 1XBET.
Last month, SportPesa criticised the Kenyan government over its interpretation of the tax rules, with the bookmaker claiming that the government was incorrectly classing all bets as income with no consideration of the amount of SportPesa paid out in winnings to successful punters. The argument led to SportPesa cancelling sponsorship deals in Kenya.
The company said they are seeking compensation from the government for their loss of earnings during the time in which they have been unable to operate due to the licence being revoked. Last month the matter was taken to court by SportPesa in order to establish if the actions of the BCLB and the Kenyan Interior Ministry were in contempt of court. A decision, in that case, is expected on 19th September.
Sports betting companies have faced intense criticism in Kenya amid claims of high gambling addiction rates in the African country. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been a leading campaigner against bookmakers, calling on his country’s politicians to outlaw gambling. Speaking at a recent church service he said he was determined to increase the revenue that the government receives, saying “Let me grow that money until the law is changed”.