Federations heighten calls to review tax on betting firms

From left: Frank Okoth technical director Kenya Premier League ,Dan Mule Chairman AFC Leopards SC ...
From left: Frank Okoth technical director Kenya Premier League ,Dan Mule Chairman AFC Leopards SC and Robert Muthomi C.E.O Kenya football federation during the team up of Kenyan's sports federations, opposing the 50% tax on gaming, lottery and betting firms.Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com

National federation chiefs as well as club stakeholders have petitioned the government to review the proposal by Finance Cabinet Secretary; Henry Rotich, to impose a 50 percent tax on gaming companies.

The officials who convened at a Nairobi hotel on Friday also confirmed having received letters from betting firms with whom they have partnered with warning their sponsorship contracts face terminations should the proposed Bill be passed by the parliament.

Top federation bosses including those from Football Kenya Federation (FKF), Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), Kenya Boxing Association (KBA), Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Limited, AFC Leopards among others urged the National Treasury to engage them in the bill.

“We feel this is the easiest way to chase out these firms that have been so pivotal in sponsoring our teams.

“No doubt getting sponsors to come on board in Kenya is a nightmare, so those who come to us openly should not only be encouraged, but treated with utmost fairness,” KRU chairman Richard Omwela charged.

The Kenya national sevens team Shujaa secured a lucrative sponsorship deal with one of the betting firms in Kenya following the exit of former partners, the Kenya Airways.

“We are always playing, as we speak our team is in London and the government has no idea how they travelled or how they are fairing there in terms of funding,” Omwela added.

AFC Leopards chairman Dan Mule, recounted the struggle his club went through before securing a sponsorship deal with the betting firms.

“AFC Leopards, the greatest club in Kenya’s history was on the verge of collapsing due to lack sponsorship before we were finally saved by the much improved betting industry locally.

“It is about employment of the youth, sustaining the game and making it more meaningful to the participants. The government, more than any other stakeholder, should be more conscious about this than any other stakeholder,”

In his presentation late March, CS Rotich warned that the expansion of the betting industry has had negative social effects on society, especially on the youths and vulnerable members of the society.

He proposed that the taxes be raised from the current 7.5 per cent (betting), 12 per cent (lottery), 15 per cent (gaming) and 15 per cent (competition) to a uniform 50 per cent for all categories.

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