SportPesa CEO seeks open dialogue with Kenyan government

Following the termination of all SportPesa Kenyan sports sponsorships, Chief Executive Ronald Karauri has defended his firm’s position against MP backlash.

Entering 2018, Karauri ordered SportPesa to suspend all active sports sponsorships in protest of the Kenyan TNA government’s blanket 35% tax hike on betting and lottery services.

During 2017 High Court hearings, Karauri had previously warned the government that his firm would be forced to suspend sponsorships, should the government implement its ‘unworkable’ tax framework.

Executing the sponsorship blackout, Karauri has been accused of blackmailing the government through SportPesa’s marketing initiatives.

Speaking to Kenyan news sources, Karauri states that his firm’s actions were tenable having warned the TNA government of the impact of its industry tax hike on wider Kenyan sporting stakeholders.

“We announced sometime back because we could see the impact of 35 percent tax on our profits, so we sent notices to all our partners. If you pay 35 percent of your revenue, it becomes very heavy on expenses,”

SportPesa will no longer be the title sponsor of the Kenya Premier League or Super 8 club competition. Furthermore, the bookmaker drops its sponsorship of football teams; Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards and the Nakuru All Stars.

Aware of the impact on Kenyan Sports funding, Karauri and SportPesa governance are willing to speak to the government on industry tax charges.

“We are definitely appealing the decision because we feel it is not fair, I would love to meet the President Uhuru Kenyatta to have a discussion on this vital issue”

Karauri restated last week that SportPesa would remain a Kenyan business enterprise, despite the tax charges which have forced the company to reevaluate its marketing channels.

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