Gambling companies in Kenya are trying to respond to the stricter regulatory regime imposed by the country’s Government, even at a time when the country’s president told them not to take legal action against the new rules.
On July 15th, the market-leading sports betting company in Kenya, SportPesa, took a full-page ad in local newspapers to explain its 2018 finances and tax records to the wider public. The gambling operator was willing to reveal more information about the taxes it paid to the country’s Government in 2018, as well as for the considerable contributions it made to local sports and community groups.
As revealed by SportPesa in a full-page advert at The Standard, the leading Kenyan sports betting operator’s revenues amounted to KES 20 billion last year. Its gross profit was worth KES9 billion, while the taxes the company paid in 2018 amounted to KES 6.4 billion. That is KES2.4 billion more than primarily announced by the Government as an amount paid in taxes by the entire betting sector in Kenya last year.
As mentioned above, the announcement made by SportPesa came as part of the company’s efforts to clean up its reputation after the emerged accusations of the small tax commitment of the industry to the local Government.
SportPesa Reveals How It Contributed to Kenyan Sport and Community in 2018
According to the information included in a report released by a multi-agency team, the overall amount paid in taxes by Kenyan betting companies was only KES4 billion. In comparison, the report showed that gambling operators generated about KES204 billion in 2018.
Despite the warning of the country’s president, however, SportPesa decided to defend itself by revealing its activities, contributions and paid taxes last year. In the full-page ad, it also listed a number of social responsibility measures it participated within the local communities and the sports community in Kenya.
The company explained that it made a KES693-million investment in football, KES600-million investment in rugby, and a KES75-million one in boxing. It also invested about KES2.8 million in rally. In addition, SportPesa noted that it invested KES73 million in agriculture, water access and environment conservation, KES57 million in education infrastructure, as well as KES 41 million in community health development.
The gaming operator also provided information about the sports activities it sponsors in Kenya. As revealed by SportPesa, it is currently the Federation of Kenya Football Shield tournament’s official title sponsor, as well as a sponsor of the Kenyan Premier League.
Kenyan Government Imposes Stricter Measures on Gambling Operators
Earlier in July, Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) decided to temporarily suspend or fully cancel the operating licenses of a number of gambling operators following the Government’s claim that the sport betting companies either had failed to fulfill their licensing requirements or owed the local authorities billions in unpaid taxes.
Some of the companies which were affected by the claims challenged them in court and were provided with temporary permissions under which they were able to continue offering their services on the territory of the country.
However, last week the Kenyan Government ordered the mobile network operators to stop the gambling companies’ access to SMS codes and bill numbers, depriving them of a much-used payment option. Local customers who had transferred money in their accounts by using these payment methods were given until last Friday night to withdraw their balances, otherwise, the money would have been lost.