SportPesa quits Kenyan market citing hostile regulatory environment

Biggest sports betting  firm in Kenya SportPesa has announced a move to halt all its operations in Kenya citing a hostile environment. The firm said it would resume operations when Kenya puts in place “adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment.”

The suspension of operation in Kenya comes after the government’s decision to impose a 20 per cent tax on all betting stakes, a move that the firms have cited as damaging on both their customers and treasury.

“Sportpesa is disappointed with the decision by the Kenyan legislature to impose a 20% excise tax on all betting stakes. The tax is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by the Rotich led treasury of how revenue generation works in the bookmaker industry,” read the statement in part.
It added; “Until such time that adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment is returned, the SportPesa brand will halt operations in Kenya.”

“This will have severe consequences for licensed betting companies, which dutifully pay their taxes and ultimately will lead to a decline in government tax revenue to near zero and will halt all investments in sports in Kenya,” the firm said.

Betin, which operates as Gamcode Limited, fired all its staff on Friday telling them that the firm had been left with no option but to let them go.

“This has been occasioned by the fact that we have not been operational since July 2019 a fact we are all aware of. Management has had several extensive meeting with relevant government entities regarding the company’s license renewal without much success,” the memo dated September 27 stated.

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