- The National Assembly has amended Kenya sports betting laws in the national budget to remove a 20% tax on sports bets.
- The tax rate was introduced in 2019, which led to many sportsbooks in Kenya to drop out of the market.
- The budget will still need to be signed off by Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta, who has vocally opposed the entire gambling industry.
NAIROBI, Kenya – The Kenya sports betting industry took a major step with the help of the country’s National Assembly. The Assembly, which approved Finance Bill 2020 and sent it to President Uhuru Kenyatta, has amended out a 20% turnover tax that plagued the county’s sports betting industry.
In the 2019-2020 budget, lawmakers decided to impose a 20% tax on all sports betting stakes.
That decision led to major online sportsbooks in Kenya such as SportPesa and Betin to exit from the market. The void left from those companies, in turn, left a void in incoming tax revenue for the country.
The amendment in the budget was influenced by an entity known as Shade.co.ke. According to Affiliate Insider, The Finance and National Planning Committee of Kenya’s National Assembly told Shade.co.ke the following:
“The reason behind [removing the tax] was that the high level of taxation had led to punter placing bets on foreign platforms that were not subject to tax and thereby denying the government revenue.”
But, there is still one major roadblock ahead before the Finance Bill can go into effect. That roadblock is President Kenyatta himself.
Will The New Kenya Sports Betting Rules Hold?
Last August, President Kenyatta sought to gain support from his legislators in completely banning gambling in Kenya.
Kenya is one of many countries that have legal sports betting, but the rules implemented last year crippled the industry to the point that it was almost removed from that list.
Before the legal sports betting industry in Kenya can bounce back, support from a president who has previously opposed gambling entirely is needed.
The only other route would be to follow a report published by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in November 2019. That report suggested closing the private sports betting sector completely in favor of state-run lotteries.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.