The government is out n a mission to reduce the amount of gambling in the country. All betting firms had their licenses withdrawn.

While reading the 2019/2020 budget report, Cabinet Secretary for Finance hit betting companies in Kenya with a bombshell after announcing the measures the government will take to curb Sports gambling in the country. Rotich announced that the government will tax 10% of every stake in a bet placed on any betting platform.

However, according to some members of the county assembly this amount is not enough to curb  betting in the country. These MPs told reporters that they had proposed a 30% tax on betting but they were  surprised to hear the CS say only 10% will be taxed from stakes.

[Read: New high for liquor and cigarettes in the new budget]

 With the high number of Kenyans engaging in the vice, the firms will be have to part with huge amounts of money in taxes. A huge number of Kenyans engage in bulk betting where they stake a lot of money in order to get high returns if they win, something the MPs are terming as killing the society.

“Betting has a negative social effect on our young people. The national assembly had suggested that the taxation of betting will be over 30% and I was surprised when somebody put 10%,” Martin Peter Owino, Mbiwa MP told reporters at the Parliament building after the reading of the budget.

Nyaribari Chache MP, Richard Nyagaka, supported Mbiwa’s sentiments saying betting is dragging the economy behind.

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“Betting destroys societies, we cannot raise a community based on guesswork. Our children have got to a point where they are hoping that a miracle will happen someday and they get a lot of money through gambling,” Nyagaka lamented, “this is why I am unhappy with the position of the minister where we only tax 10%. He should have taxed a lot more just like beer and cigarettes.”

The 10% that is taxed will directly affect the firms but the gamblers will also feel the change. The firms will look for a way to get the money from the gamblers by reducing the betting odds and hence reducing the returns.

[See also: Hope and despair as New Budget is read]

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Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected]

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