Sportpesa has been missing in action for almost two months after it had been banned by the taxman. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Sportpesa has been missing in action for almost two months after it had been banned by the taxman. Photo/BusinessToday

Leading Betting firm Sportpesa has been cleared to operate by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

The Betting firm has confirmed this through a statement shared on its Twitter account. Loyal Sportpesa users who have been eagerly waiting for the firm’s return cannot wait until the license is renewed.

The taxman has cleared the firm to have its license renewed and the ball is now on Betting Control and Licences Board (BCLB).

Towards the end of last week, the betting firm suffered a major blow after the high court declined to compel BCLB to renew its license. Justice John Mativo, who ruled the case, said Sportpesa failed to demonstrate that the impugned decision was arrived at arbitrarily and was an abuse of power.

Sportpesa also wanted the court to compel the government to lift the suspension of their pay bill numbers. The firm said the suspension of their pay bill numbers and shortcodes halted their business. Sportpesa claimed it had met all requirements and had sought for a refund because of damages.

Throughout the period it was banned, Sportpesa has maintained that it was compliant with tax regulations. The firm said that it paid more than Ksh6 billion in taxes in 2018 after making Ksh20 billion in revenues and Ksh9 billion in profits.

However, when Sportpesa was missing in action some other firms were operational. Betika was first to return to the betting scene as its license was issued almost immediately. Other firms including Mozzartbet, Betway, and Odibets slowly joined back in.

Deducting 20% Tax

Led by Betika, these sites have been deducting 20% of gamblers’ winnings to help them be able to pay taxes.

This action by Betika attracted negative comments from gamblers who expressed their frustrations on social media. The gamblers complained that staking too high on little odds could not bring a profit as most of it pays off the withholding tax.

Betway, on the other hand, returned to the scene with a campaign to discourage Kenyans from engaging in the gambling vice. The campaign that has been running on their social media pages is dubbed ‘Bet the Responsible Way’.

Sportpesa fans will be hoping that the leading firm won’t tax any of their potential winnings when it gets back its license.

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