Kenya Revenue Authority’s ongoing legal battle with prominent betting entities, SportPesa and Finix Casino, has intensified, with the tax authority advocating for the suspension of their trading licenses and paybill numbers.
The High Court in Kakamega previously issued a directive preventing SportPesa and Finix Casino from deducting the 12.5 percent tax on betting stakes, providing temporary relief for punters but setting the stage for a conflict between the companies and the taxman.
“Both entities have to comply despite reminders,” said Weldon Ngeno, Commissioner for domestic taxes.
In a letter to Jane Makau, chairperson of the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), Ngeno urged the immediate suspension of all trading licenses and paybill numbers for SportPesa and Finix Casino. However, the BCLB has not enforced the KRA’s request, allowing punters to continue depositing funds.
This is not the first time SportPesa has faced legal disputes impacting its operations. In 2019, the company temporarily exited the Kenyan market amid a court battle with the KRA over alleged unpaid taxes. SportPesa made a comeback in 2020 under new ownership after Milestone Games Limited acquired the brand.
The clash between regulatory bodies and betting firms like SportPesa and Finix Casino underscores the complexities of tax compliance and the evolving regulatory landscape in Kenya’s gambling industry. This dispute not only affects the businesses involved but also has implications for punters relying on these platforms.
As the standoff continues between the KRA and these betting giants, questions arise about the enforcement of tax regulations in Kenya’s gaming sector and the potential impact on the wider gambling industry. The resolution of this dispute will shape the future landscape of taxation and licensing for betting companies operating in Kenya.