Economy

Treasury in fresh bid for 20pc tax rate on betting

Yatani

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani during a past interview at his office. FILE PHOTO | NMG

john-mutua-img

Summary

  • Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the ministry would propose an increase of the tax from the current 7.5 percent in the next financial year.
  • Parliament in June rejected Treasury’s proposal of a 20 percent excise tax on betting stakes and lowered it to 7.5 percent.

The Treasury has vowed to push for the reintroduction of excise duty on betting at a rate of 20 percent of the amount staked, in a move it says is aimed at curbing the rise of the gaming addiction among the youth.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the ministry would propose an increase of the tax from the current 7.5 percent in the next financial year, in what is likely to spark off hostilities with Parliament and betting firms.

Parliament in June rejected Treasury’s proposal of a 20 percent excise tax on betting stakes and lowered it to 7.5 percent on grounds that the tax regime on betting is too punitive and has put off investors

But Mr Yatani expressed displeasure with the lawmakers, saying that failure to approve the 20 percent tax has encouraged betting amid concerns from the State that the gaming addiction has entrapped youth into debts.

“We are not very happy with what Parliament did. Parliament in its own wisdom rejected the 20 percent but we will make another attempt through the Finance Bill,” Mr Yatani told the Business Daily.

The changes were contained in the Finance Act, 2021 that took effect from July 1.

Reduction of the excise tax is a win to gamblers but derails efforts by the Kenya Revenue Authority to raise more from the multi-billion industry that has grown over the years due to the gaming craze for popular sports like football.

Excise tax on betting stakes was introduced in 2019, but was removed in July last year through amendments to the Finance Act 2020 following lobbying by betting firms.