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No respite for betting firms as parliament sticks to 35% tax rule

James Magayi @magayijim

Betting firms operating in Kenya will continue paying the hiked 35 per cent tax on profits after the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism wholesomely rejected proposed amendments to the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act.

The disgruntled firms will therefore put up with the high taxes for at least six more months before fresh amendments can be made to the punitive law. The proposed amendments would have reduced tax on profits earned by betting firms to 15 per cent from the current 35 per cent.

The committee rejected the proposed amendments on account of the proposals not adequately addressing current issues affecting the sector.

“They are piecemeal in nature and if we only allow a few amendments to be enacted, we shall leave the existing Act vague hence causing conflict and disharmony among the players in the industry,” the committee chairman Victor Munyaka said.

“The committee holds the view that there is need to consider the different gambling activities like gaming, lotteries and price competitions for different taxation regimes because their modes of operations are different. Further, we submit that a major potion of gambling taxes should be channelled back to sports to support the youth,” added the committee that includes former national volleyball star Dan Wanyama.

A review of the whole Act, which was formulated in 1966, is in the offing going by the committee’s wishes and the Betting Control and Licensing Board could also be upgraded to an authority.

“After a careful review of the proposed amendments vis-a-vis the existing law, the committee members have unanimously decided law requires a thorough mop-up, being that the current law is outdated.”

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