NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Kenya’s leading betting firm SportPesa has expanded its operations to Tanzania four years after it was established in Kenya.
The move comes as the Kenyan Government imposed a 50 per cent tax on the gross revenue of betting companies that is seen as scaring away investors.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Tanzania welcomed the move and pledged its full support to the firm.
“Thank you for seeing enormous potential in Tanzania, not only to promote sport, but also to create employment and enthusiasm in sports. I assure you of my ministry’s support, karibu nchi ya michezo (welcome to the country of sports). This is an important and unique chance to develop sports and we will not let this opportunity go,” Tanzania Minister for Information, Culture and Sport, Harrison Mwakyembe said.
Interim Betting Control of Tanzania Director General, James Mbawe, declared SportPesa had been given the license to operate after meeting all stringent regulations of the gaming industry.
“This is great success for Tanzania because it will increase our visibility. We are proud of their coming,” Mbawe added.
Sports gaming was the fastest growing industry in Tanzania, earning the Government TSh21.9bn (over $9.79mn) in revenue in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
Treasury CS Henry Rotich plans to impose a 50 per cent tax on the gross revenue of betting companies.
In his 2017/2018 budget speech in March 2017, Rotich attributed the move to the negative consequences the industry has caused to young Kenyans.
“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,” Rotich noted.
Betting companies have been against the taxes citing that the business is a costly undertaking.