Kenyan gamblers could face 10% tax under new laws

Kenyan gamblers are set to be hit with a ten per cent excise duty on bets placed after recent proposals issued by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich seek to implement measures to curb problem gambling in the country.

The proposals were detailed as part of the 2019/20 Financial Year Budget in Parliament on Thursday, in which Rotich explained: “Mr Speaker, betting has become widespread in our society and its expansion has had negative social effects, particularly to the young and vulnerable members of our society.

“In order to curtail the negative effects arising from betting activities, I propose to introduce excise duty on betting activities at the rate of ten per cent of the amount staked.”

The new tax bill is set to be separate to the bill that currently seeks to revamp the country’s regulatory framework for gambling.

Kenyan legislators had confirmed that they are considering a proposed Gaming Bill 2019 which seeks to overhaul current state gambling laws, with further plans to impose significantly higher costs on licensed operators.

The proposed Gaming Bill 2019, designed to replace the 1966 Betting Lotteries and Gaming Act, seeks to cover the online operators across the Kenyan market that may not have otherwise been represented by the legislation.

Also addressed in the new proposals are stricter controls on advertising policies for operators, with gambling brands obliged to dedicate at least ten per cent of their airtime to responsible gaming messaging. Gambling adverts will be banned from broadcast schedules between 6AM and 10PM, unless during live sports broadcasts.

A limit to how many adverts can be shown is also due to be introduced via the launch of the Gaming Advertisement Tax. The new tax will incur a 35 per cent charge on all adverts broadcast, although it is yet to be clarified as to whether this tax will be handed to operators or broadcasters.

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