After a hiatus which was forced by the government, SportPesa, Kenya’s leading sports gambling organization, is back in business. The organization, along with several other gambling operators, were forced by the KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) to cease operations.
This move came after the Kenyan government went ahead to rewrite their tax related laws. This caused a massive problem for most of the operators as they had to start looking for or hundreds of millions of dollars. As luck would have it, the KRA has restored SportPesa’s license which permits the company to get back to business.
The relaunch of business activities was released by SportPesa in a statement, explaining,
“Sportpesa has been engaging stakeholders on the current licensing issue. Our sessions with regulators and government are targeted towards creating a better understanding of the gaming industry with the view of creating a shared perspective on related regulation, including tax administration.”
“There has been notable progress in these sessions and we are pleased to announce that Kenya Revenue Authority has now cleared us to have our license renewed. SportPesa is confident that these processes will be completed soon allowing the company to resume full operations.”
Recently, Kenya made changes to how its tax code was interpreted in relation to gambling. This meant that a 20% tax on the gross amount staked was to be paid, not on the amount won. Operators like Betway and SportPesa were shocked to see that their licenses were suspended by the Betting Control and Licensing Board.
Betway was the first company to resume operations after it was determined by the KLA they were in full compliance with the law.
In addition to SportPesa’s statement, they further added;
“We recognize the support of our employees, customers, and key stakeholders in this process and will be communicating soon on when we will be commencing operations. As Sportpesa, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting the government’s economic development agenda by operating as a law-abiding business that is committed to tax compliance.”
There’s a serious possibility that SportPesa realized they were fighting a battle they could not win, so they decided to give in. When issues with the government started, they took the case to court, but a judge ruled that they did not have enough grounds to claim injustice.
For now, the operators believe the matter can be settled and it was time to resume operations. It’s not smooth sailing yet as all operators are still tentative as they’re awaiting a presidential directive which may either allow them to continue operations or ban them entirely.