The fate of sports betting in Kenya is not good. The industry lacks government support and many operator licenses have been suspended.
SportPesa, Betway and Betin, among others, are out of steam thanks to the country’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB. Apparently the rules have changed. It didn’t help when SportPesa argued its case in court.
SportPesa wanted judicial support against the BCLB and its purported illegal gambling suspension.
In their lawsuit, the company asserted,
“The action of the respondents are only not unreasonable, irrational and highhanded but also clearly amount to deliberate abuse of office and state power to achieve ulterior ends.”
In spite of its valiant efforts, SportPesa did not prevail. Kenya High Court Justice John Mativo threw out the case, explaining,
“…there is no basis the petitioner can operate on an expired license. The claim for damages for alleged loss of business is legally frail. Damages must be pleaded and proven.”
It always comes down to money. Officials have altered the application of the 20% tax on gambling winnings so that it now covers amounts wagered as well.
Operators are up in arms over huge tax bills and assessments of back monies now due. Some gave up; like Betway they forked it over and is now back up and running.
Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta was heard to say that he would approve a complete ban on gambling if lawmakers drafted the legislation.