Kenyan Treasury plans 10% player charge

Kenyan betting incumbents face further political hurdles, as Kenya’s National Treasury announced yesterday that it would move to introduce a 10% excise duty on player wagers.

The consumer tax charge forms part of Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich 2019/2020 budget plan, with its backers describing the measure as a ‘sin tax’ needed to tackle the negative effects of gambling across Kenya.

“Betting has become widespread in our society and its expansion has had negative social effects, particularly on the young and vulnerable members of our society,” Rotich stated to Kenyan Parliament.

As Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich has previously targeted the Kenyan sports betting sector, with planned tax hikes.

In 2017, Rotich spearheaded the TNA government’s approved 35% blanket tax hike across all gambling verticals, a controversial directive which would be cancelled by President Uhuru Kenyatta administration as sports clubs and organisations complained that Rotich’s tax plan would significantly reduce their funding.

The excise duty is tabled, as Kenya’s National Assembly reviews the proposed mandate of a new Gaming Bill, seeking to introduce higher licensing costs on operators and further establishing a new national lottery.

In addition, a number of Kenyan MPs are reported to support the restructuring of the nation’s Betting and Licensing Control Board, allowing the government body to better enforce gambling standards and controls, amid growing concerns on the high number of Kenyan underage gamblers.

Kenyan betting stakeholders will likely ask the government for clarification on Rotich’s tax plan.

Last May, Nairobi’s High Court was forced to overrule a set of Kenyan Control Board sanctioned advertising restrictions, stating that the proposed mandate had been inefficient as a legislative directive, which would introduce new policies on a number of businesses sectors.

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