The Kenyan government published a report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in which it offers a series of recommendations that could leave the sports betting operators outside the business.
The report released this week cites thematic areas that were consulted with public opinion, which includes the ‘lack of national ethics’, security, corruption and rights and responsibilities, which were identified by the president from Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.
One of BBI’s observations points out that “the private betting industry is leading to despair and greater poverty.” The organization also recommends replacing betting operators “with a national lottery run by the government whose income, as is the case in other countries, is used for activities that raise youth, sports, culture and other social activities beneficial to the citizens”.
Although BBI’s recommendations are not binding, everything seems to indicate that they are in line with the current position of the Kenyan government to interrupt and replace the private betting sector in Kenya.
The two largest sports betting operators in the country, SportPesa and Betin, were forced to cease their operations recently following the suspension of their licenses, amid a bitter public dispute with the government, related to the collection of a 20% tax. On betting winnings.
Although, the tax court gave the reason to the operators by saying that the tax should only be applied to the real wagers, but not including the original bet, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) did not agree and announced which would appeal the court ruling, which raised uncertainty about the business in the country.
Not only did the KRA not comply with the court’s decision, but last week it ordered active betting operators to apply a 20% stake tax and include the amount of the tax on the customers’ betting receipt. If operators do not comply with this provision, the KRA warned that they will face “tax recovery measures as provided in the Tax Procedures Act.”
It is not yet known whether the Kenyan government will adopt the recommendations of the BBI Report. President Kenyatta has not said whether he will implement any of the recommendations and it is also said that public opinion will be heard through a referendum. The truth is that, in August Kenyatta showed his willingness to ban all gaming products if the parliament asks. It means then that parliament will decide the fate of gambling.