Huge relief for betting firms after Uhuru makes new proposal

Parliament will have to table the Bill and include the President's proposed clause.

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The Betting, Lottery, Gaming and Competition Industry has been handed a huge boost by the President which could see them pay less taxes to the government.

This is after Uhuru Kenyatta rejected the Finance Bill 2017 to which Parliament had earlier deleted clause increasing gambling tax to 50 per cent up from 15 per cent; with the Head of State pushing for a 35 per cent increase.

MP’s had two weeks ago tabled the Bill that would decide whether the betting firms would pay the higher tax of 50 per cent of gross profits from 7.5 per cent.

Members who opposed the reduction of the 50 per cent tax to the current rates through an acclamation vote unsuccessfully tried to force a division (physical vote) after failing to marshal 15 MPs required to call for such a vote.

This meant that a part from betting whose taxation was retained at 7.5 per cent of total revenues, gaming, lotteries and prize competition will be taxed at 50 per cent.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich had in his 2017/2018 budget proposed to have the Betting firms taxed 50 per cent on their gross revenues; a move that was regarded by the firms as ‘punitive’.

The proceeds would then be put in a newly created National Sports, Culture and Arts Fund to support

Mr. Rotich noted that the move would help alleviate the negative consequences the industry has caused to the Kenyan youth.

“Betting and gaming have become widespread in our society in an environment that is inadequately regulated. Its expansion is beginning to have negative social effects in particular on the youth and the vulnerable members of the society.”

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