Kenya to pass bill to impose higher taxes on gaming

The Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Bill received a second push after Members of Parliament approved its Second Reading.

Kenya.- Legislators in Kenya first introduced the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Bill into the National Assembly in June 2015. The government aimed to impose a 7.5 percent tax on bookmakers generating this way more revenue via gambling taxes for the government. After the initial attempt to form a special committee to monitor the gaming industry failed, there has been slow progress on the bill.

Last week, the bill has received a second push when Members of Parliament (MP) approved its Second Reading. The bill received support from the MPs who believe that imposing a higher gambling tax on the country’s multi-billion dollar gaming industry is the way to proceed as it gave the government a legal way of bringing in significant revenue into its annual budget. The bill is expected to be passed later this week.

Majority Leader Aden Duale has sponsored the bill which will allow the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to collect taxes from all gaming operators. In the event the bill go through, lotteries will have to pay the KRA a 5 percent tax; casinos will have to shell out a 12 percent tax on gross revenue and prize competitions will have to pay out a 15 percent tax on gross revenue which will be determined by the cost of entry. Duale is pushing for MPs to raise some of the gaming taxes to 20 percent.

“This Bill is meant to discourage gambling. Either we gamble and pay huge taxes so that we build roads and provide better healthcare [or stop],” said Duale in a statement. “We must introduce a law in this House to prevent gambling from becoming a channel for money laundering and tax evasion.”