Treasury to propose reintroduction of betting tax

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani will propose reintroduction of the 20% betting tax within six months after claiming that the excise tax was removed through the Finance Act 2020.

On Tuesday, the government appeared to backtrack on its stand on sports betting, with President Uhuru Kenyatta signing into law a proposal that sought the removal of 20% excise duty on the amount wagered at the time a bet is placed.

Its introduction last year sparked the exit of two leading industry players in the country to halt their operations while citing ‘hostile regulatory environment’.

‘The National Treasury and Planning will be proposing to the National Assembly, the reintroduction of the excise duty on betting within the next six months. The Government remains committed to supporting the youth engage in productive activities through various programs,” CS Yatani said in a statement on Thursday.

CS Yatani has reiterated the punitive taxation measures are necessary in controlling the industry, saying ‘betting activities have adversely affected the country’s social fabric and the youth in particular.’

The government last year said it had been concerned by the rapid growth of betting in the country after the gaming industry achieved a combined revenue of 204 billion shillings in 2018.

That was followed by a drastic hike in taxes, with the parliament voting an amended proposal raising the excise duty proposed in the 2019/20 (July-June) budget on betting stakes from an initial 10%.

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