Crisis looms in the Kenyan betting industry following latest government move

The directive has been roundly opposed by the betting firms who say that the move is tantamount to killing the industry.

Kenyans place their bets at one of the many betting spots in Nairobi on July 30, 2016, along Market Street.

The government now wants all betting companies in Kenya that want to sponsor sports in the country to do so through Ministry of Sports, Culture and Sports.

Leading sporting teams in the country such as football, rugby and boxing are already sponsored by betting firms.

Annual revenues

Statistics released by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2015 indicate that the annual gross turnover of sports betting industry in Kenya was $20 million (Sh2.1 billion).

With more competition, the gross revenue is projected to grow to more than $50 million (Sh5.1 billion) by 2018.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario dismissed claims by the betting firms that increasing the taxes to 50% (announced by Treasury CS Henry Rotich during the budget reading last week) would hurt the sporting industry.

“You are making billions of shillings then you give away a few millions in sponsorship then you say you should be exempted from tax. No way, as long as you do business in Kenya you will be taxed,” Wario said.

Wario now wants to know how much the betting firms are giving out as compared to how much they earn.

Kenya Premier League (KPL) chief executive officer Ambrose Rachier has come to the rescue of the firms saying that they have greatly come to the aid of local clubs through various sponsorships and urged the government to rethink the new proposals.

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