The Kenyan parliament voted to remove excise duty on betting. According to the National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee in its review of the Finance Bill 2020, the 20 percent excise duty charged on the stake placed by a punter had hurt the country’s gaming industry.
“The amendment is to remove excise duty on betting. This is to reverse the negative effects of this tax on the industry, which has led to closure of betting firms in Kenya yet international players continue to operate,” the committee said.
In the current fiscal year (FY19/20), the National Treasury introduced excise duty on betting activities at the rate of ten percent of the amount staked ‘In order to curtail the negative effects arising from betting activities’.
This led to uproar from the Kenya Betting Control Board (BCLB) licence holders protesting its enforcement.
The purpose of Amendment of Section 59 B of Cap 469 was to “discourage Kenyans, and especially the youth, in directing their focus on betting, lottery and gaming activities instead of productive economic engagement, a vice that is likely to degenerate into a social disaster.”
In April, the 2019 FinAccess Household Survey found out that approximately 20 percent of the Kenyan adult population considered betting a good source of income.
According to the survey conducted by the Kenya Bankers Association, the Central Bank of Kenya and FSD Kenya revealed that 22.7 percent of men compared to 16.9 percent of women termed betting as a good way of making money.
However, 69.5 percent of Kenyans residing in rural areas compared to 67.9 percent of those in urban areas did not consider gambling or betting as a good way of making money.
The Finance Bill’s fate lies in the hands of the President who will have to review and approve.