Kenya tribunal sides with sports betting ops in tax fight with gov’t

Kenya’s sports betting operators have won a legal victory in their war with the government over how wagering is taxed.

On Thursday, Business Daily reported that the Tax Appeals Tribunal in Nairobi had sided with the country’s two largest betting firms, SportPesa and Betin, who argued that the government’s new 20% betting tax applies only to punters’ net winnings, not their betting stakes.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has been hounding local betting operators to collect the controversial 20% tax on punters’ winnings, which took effect on July 1, 2018. However, betting operators and the gambling public took issue with the KRA’s amended definition of winnings, which held that the tax applied to all money paid by operators to winning bettors, including the return of their original betting stake.

The Tribunal also shifted more responsibility for remitting the tax onto the individual punters rather than the operators deducting the tax at source. The Tribunal’s intention was reportedly to shield betting operators from prosecution by what has by now revealed itself to be a very aggressive government.

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