Ruto calls for regulation, taxation of ‘opaque’ online betting firms
President William Ruto has asked Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge to develop policies for regulations of online betting companies and have them pay taxes.
Speaking during a joint press conference with Safariacom, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and NCBA on financial inclusion in Kenya the head of state insisted moderation of online gambling companies is vital.
“We also want them to pay taxes. At the moment, they are operating in a space that is opaque. That space needs more clarity,” Ruto said.
He acknowledge the Regulator’s efforts to have policies that will hold betting companies accountable in Kenya.
Currently, gamblers pay 20 percent of every winning bet in addition to a 7.5 percent tax on each betting stake that was re-introduced in July last year.
Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) chief executive Peter Mbugi says the heavy taxation has served the government’s intention of clamping down on the betting craze.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government also re-introduced a 7.5 percent tax on every betting stake meaning that for every Sh100 staked, KRA takes Sh7.5.
Betting firms pay tax at a rate of 15 percent on the gross gaming revenue— turnover minus winnings paid out. They also pay corporate tax on profits at a rate of 30 percent.
The government also formed a multi-agency team that draws memberships from the betting regulator, KRA, and the Financial Reporting Centre among other State agencies.
Data from the KRA shows that tax on gross gaming revenue rose 13 percent to Sh3.294 billion in the year ended June from Sh2.907 billion a year earlier.
Gaming is popular among the youth with some funding their betting addiction through digital loans. The jobless have also turned to the craze in the hope of striking it rich.