KRA to milk more from betting craze


Times Tower in Nairobi, the Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The Kenya Revenue Authority will raise more money from gamblers under proposed changes that raise the excise on betting stakes.

The Finance Bill, 2023 has proposed to change the definition of a winning bet to include betting stakes besides raising the excise tax on antes to 20 percent from current 7.5 percent.

Read: Betting taxes rise 23pc to Sh5.9bn on tight system

Presently, the winning bet amount is arrived at by deducting the amount staked from that won. The change means that betting stakes will now be taxed twice, earning KRA millions more from gamblers.

The two changes are the latest moves by the government to discourage betting among the youth and unemployed Kenyans while claiming a large slice of the wagered billions.

“Winnings” means the payout from a betting, gaming, lottery, prize competition, gambling or similar transaction under the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act without deducting the amount staked or wagered,” the Finance Bill reads.

Currently, gamblers pay 7.5 percent excise on betting stakes and a further 20 percent as withholding tax from every winning bet.

The definition of a winning bet has in the past led to vicious court battles between the KRA and betting firms as the taxman demanded billions of shillings from gaming companies.

Read: Early winnings for KRA as betting taxes double

SportPesa and Betika Kenya halted operations in Kenya for a period four years ago at the peak of the fights with the taxman, with the duo citing a large hike in taxes on betting stakes and unresolved disputes as reasons for the stoppage.

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