Punters had discovered a betting site that did not charge them withholding tax but the government busted their little discovery. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Punters had discovered a betting site that did not charge them withholding tax but the government busted their little discovery. Photo/ FILE- Business Today

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last week ordered Kenyan telecommunication companies to withdraw pay bill numbers of 27 betting companies that have not adhered to regulations put in place by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

Top betting sites in the country have been since affected by this as they have not been operational. Betika is the only company that has been in operation ever since CS Matiang’i gave the directive. Other betting sites Sportpesa and Betway have said that they have adhered to these regulations and yet their pay bill numbers were withdrawn.

In press statements seen by Business Today, the betting sites said that they are doing everything in their power to get their sites back to operation. According to these betting companies, the government has no reason to shut down their operations.

“SportPesa has been compliant has been fully compliant with all tax and legal requirements in Kenya. Our business has uniquely and consistently boosted sports development in the country and we have never wavered in our support to invest in the community,” the statement by Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri read in part.

[Read: Gamblers given two days to withdraw money from betting platforms]

In a statement dated 15th July, Betway said that they have adhered to the regulations put in place by BCLB.

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“We further wish to state that to the best of our knowledge we have complied with everything that the government has sought as part of the application for renewal of our license. As Betway, we are fully committed to compliance with laws and regulations as set and at all times,” the statement read in part.

Betting addicts and Kenyan telcos have been affected the most by the move to shut down these betting companies. Telcos made a lot of money from money transfer transactions where gamblers loaded cash to their online wallets on the betting platforms.

However, the betting addicts who have been affected are those loyal to a specific betting platform whose operations have been shut down by the government. Those who are not loyal to a specific betting platform still have the option to switch to Betika which is operational. Betika said that their license was renewed on July 1st when other betting sites’ licenses were withdrawn.

“Following recent media reports on licensing and operations of betting and gaming firms in Kenya, Betika would like to clarify and confirm that on Monday 1st July 2019, our license for the year 2019/2020 was renewed by the BCLB. Our services remain available to customers on all platforms,” the statement read in part.

The government, however, seems to maintain its stand about the betting companies. It is a measure to curb the gambling craze that is ailing the country. There has been concerns about the Kenyan youth being addicted to gambling.

[Read: Government orders telcos to withdraw betting firms’ pay bill numbers]

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About the Author

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

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