NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – The re-introduction of the 20 per cent excise duty on sports betting in the next six months by the Government, which is part of the reason that saw biggest players in Kenya – SportPesa and Betin close shop, portends a bleak future for betting fans.
The tax that was introduced during the 2019/20 financial year, was removed in last-minute changes to the Finance Bill that was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 1.
Despite being left with a few choices to pick from, many punters who utilize latest online bookmakers and football podcasts to predict upcoming bets will without a doubt have their betting outcomes negatively affected this season.
This article discusses the impact regulations by the Betting License and Control Board and what we can expect for the future of online betting in Kenya.
What was the reason?
To get to the point, the development was placed due to the disagreements over taxation of customer winnings, between the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and betting companies.
The KRA states that numerous betting companies owe the government a fortune in unpaid taxes.
The Chain of Events
On July 1, when betting licenses expired, the Betting Control and Licensing Board took action.
They ordered payment providers like M-Pesa to close down pay-bill numbers and short codes, underpinning the betting industry by controlling deposits and withdrawals.
Twenty-seven betting operators who refused to pay the levy due to the pending court action were forced to shut down. 12 million of their customers were forced to immediately withdraw their funds, all within 48 hours.
As a response, the biggest names in the betting industry – Sportpesa and Betin – sued to block the order, an application that was immediately thrown out by the High Court of Kenya.
The Court stated the suit was pointless as there is no basis that the petitioner could even operate on an expired license.
Is online betting over in Kenya?
Although many are no longer operating, it is back to business for some betting companies amidst the raucous. To keep running, the remaining betting companies have agreed to comply with the laws and regulations, including doubled taxes.
Additionally, there are still a huge number of international sportsbooks that service the Kenyan customers. Here are some important things to keep in mind when betting on international sites from Kenya:
Verifying Your Account
Majority of regulated betting sites need to have ID verification. You must provide the specified information needed to verify your identity. Such information can include, home address and a phone number. You might also need to present a copy of a proof of address (utility bill) and a passport copy.
When your account is approved, you are now free to make deposits. Use international banking methods like Mastercard and Visa, or send cash to e-Wallets like Paypal. One thing to take note, you will need to convert your funds into USD or GBP. So, it is important to be aware of conversion rates.
Although a lot of changes have taken place within the online betting community in Kenya, it isn’t the end of the industry. Players must now broaden their horizons and consider new betting sites or international betting sites.