How the new tax proposal will affect you and the gaming companies in Kenya if implemented





Reintroducing excise duty on betting, total taxes would exceed 86.5 percent. The negative effects of stringent measures could again bring closure of some betting firms

The Ministry of Finance is seeking to reintroduce excise duty on betting at a rate of 20 percent of the amount staked. This means total taxes would exceed 86.5 percent, which could again bring closure of some betting firms due to the unfavourable working environment. In turn, Kenya would be left without great income and thousands of people that work in this industry would lose their jobs.

Here is a list of all the taxes that betting companies would have to pay:

  • 20 percent Excise Tax on betting stake
  • 1.5 percent Digital service tax on betting tax
  • 15 percent Betting Tax
  • 20 percent tax on winnings
  • 30 percent income tax

Additionally, the return on investment in Kenya through the payment of profits / repayment of loans would be subject to additional taxation in Kenya, which would lead to the situation that due to the applied tax policy, doing business in Kenya would not be commercially viable.

Foreign companies describe the Kenyan market as an over-taxed and unfair operating environment. The companies in the industry are already paying high fees, and additional taxes are being proposed, which do not exist in Europe or America. In England, the tax on the difference is 20 percent, and there is no tax on winings or stake, Kenya would be one of the few countries in the world to adopt this model of taxing the gambling industry.

Excise duty on betting was introduced in 2019 but was removed in July last year. One of the reason behind removing the tax was that the high level of taxation had led to punters placing bets on foreign platforms that were not subject to tax and thereby denying the government revenue.

Parliament scrapped the excise tax saying that it is meant to reverse the negative effects of stringent measures that included closure of some well known betting firms.

That closure led to jobs losses for hundreds of Kenyans and a revenue gap to the taxman who had annually collected billions of shillings in taxes from the betting industry.

Gaming companies are big sponsors of Kenyan sports and generally have a great impact on the community. They have especially stood out with donations during the coronavirus pandemic.

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