This is why Kenyan gamblers will rest easy following directive by Parliament

The proposed law had elicited strong criticism from several industry players including the Interior Ministry, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), and the Association of Gaming Operators - Kenya.

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

The committee led by Matungu MP David Were said the bill lacked proper consultation.

The proposed law sought to impose a ban on advertisement of competitions in which prizes are offered in what will force betters to rely on phone applications and betting firms’ websites on the bets.

Advertising

The passage of the bill would have meant sports betting firms such as Sportpesa, Betin, Betway, Mcheza among others will be barred from splashing advertisements in print and electronic media ahead of key local and international football matches.

Those who contravene the proposed changes to the proposed be law were to face fines ranging from Sh1 million and Sh4 million, up from the current Sh3, 000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both.

The bill also proposed an introduction of a number of taxes; betting tax, lottery tax, gaming tax and prize competition tax to be chargeable at the rate of 7.5%, 5%, 12% and 15% respectively of the gross betting revenue.

The MPs warned that the "excess tax levels and statutory commitments" that leave betting firms "with only five per cent of net revenues to cover operations costs are not viable".

KRA recommendation

The committee also observed that the proposed law has unconstitutional clauses.

Last month the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) cautioned parliament on its move to regulate such activities in the country.

Speaking when he appeared before the National Assembly Labour and Social Welfare Committee, Commissioner General John Njiraini said that the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Amendment Bill 2016 would go against the renewed efforts to increased revenue collection by KRA.

He said revenue from the sector has been growing enormously and increasing taxes or trying to regulate betting activities will result in a dip in KRA’s earnings.

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