Government has called for the suspension of the paybill numbers of Sportpesa and other betting companies
Government has called for the suspension of the paybill numbers of Sportpesa and other betting companies

The Government has cancelled the operating licences of several betting companies including Sportpesa, Betin, Betpawa, Betway and called for the suspension of their paybill numbers.

Other betting companies whose licences have been revoked include Premier Bet, Lucky2u, Dafabet, Mozzartbet, Atari, Millionaire Sports Bet, Palmsbet, Cheza Cash, Betboss, Betyetu, Elitebet, Bungabet, Cysabet, Saharabet, 1xbet, Eastleighbet and Sportybet.

In a letter to Safaricom Limited dated Wednesday, 10th of July 2019, Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director Liti Wambua told Safaricom that the betting companies listed had failed to meet outstanding licence renewal requirements.

“We wish to inform you that the licences of the following companies…were not renewed until they meet the outstanding renewal requirements as well as outcome of on-going due diligence to determine if they are fit and proper to hold a licence from this board.”

“Consequently, we wish you to suspend their pay-bills and short codes until otherwise advised.”

The government and betting companies have been in an on-and-off tussle over the amount they are supposed to pay in taxes.

The agency had earlier indicated that the betting companies made a cumulative amount of Ksh.204 billion last year but paid only Ksh.4 billion in taxes.

In April this year, the court stopped the operations of Income Tax Act sections (2, 10, 34 and 35), that had sought to increase taxes for the betting companies, crashing KRA’s hopes of collecting Sh2.7 billion per month from betting wins.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, the government imposed a 10 per cent tax on every stake placed on the betting platforms. A section of MPs, however, want this amount raised to 30 per cent in order to curb betting in the country.

In Kenya, Sportpesa is the official League Sponsor as well as the sponsor of football giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. It also sponsors Hull City, Arsenal and Everton in the United Kingdom.