National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on Thursday read the 2019/2020 budget to the parliament. Rotich proposed a few changes on taxation including the introduction of a 10% tax on all betting stakes.
Members of Pparliament lamented saying they had proposed a higher rate but betting companies and gamblers are obviously not happy with the introduction of the tax. Even though, it is betting companies who will pay the tax, gamblers will be affected with the same too as the companies look for money to try and maintain their profit levels.
Talking to Business Today, a serial betting fanatic spoke of his fears of what will happen now that the companies will be taxed more. Idrissa Keitany is a Kenyan based in Dubai and still engages in sports betting using Kenyan betting sites. He has been gambling for 4 years and has had successful and unsuccessful phases but the successful ones gave him the motivation to continue betting.
Betting odds are likely to reduce as the companies will be looking to make profits too. Now that they will be taxed more, these companies will make less profits if the returns gamblers gain after winning will be maintained.
“It will now be difficult because we will have to stake more money before we get meaningful returns. I do not think it will be good because I have been betting for four years and the returns were better before the taxes kicked in,” Idrissa said in a phone interview.
Idrissa has gained a lot from betting and even recalls when he once won a lot of money from a single bet. The money helped him build a house in Eldoret, where he hails from.
He, however, warned Kenyans from regarding betting as a source of income because there is no guarantee that you will profit from the venture.
“In betting there is a 50/50 chance of winning, you are never guaranteed of winning. I do it for fun, to enjoy watching a match,” he advised, “someone with nothing to do will be doing it hoping to make a living from it. It can be addictive.”
Kenya has been labelled a gambling nation on several occasions. Last year a whopping 11 out of the top 20 google search queries in Kenya were directly related to betting. Reports have shown that Kenya leads Africa in the amount of people who gamble.
The government’s plan of highly taxing the betting companies is a good measure to curb the vice in the country but the betting companies are likely to suffer the least. The gamblers who are mostly the low earning Kenyans will suffer more.