Kenya’s top sports gambling firm, SportPesa, is back in business after a brief government-mandated hiatus. The firm, as well as all others, were compelled to suspend their activities by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), after the state chose to rewrite its midstream tax codes, causing the operators to be on the hook for hundreds of millions of bucks unexpectedly. The KRA has now returned its permit to SportPesa, enabling it to pursue its company.
In a declaration, SportPesa announced the restart, explaining: “Sportpesa has been engaging stakeholders on the current licensing issue. Our sessions with regulators and government are targeted towards creating a better understanding of the gaming industry with the view of creating a shared perspective on related regulation, including tax administration.
“There has been notable progress in these sessions and we are pleased to announce that Kenya Revenue Authority have now cleared us to have our license renewed. SportPesa is confident that these processes will be completed soon allowing the company to resume full operations.”
Recently, Kenya altered its interpretation of the gambling tax code, forcing the 20% tax to be viewed on the gross quantity wagered, not on what was won.
Operators such as SportPesa and Betway suddenly discovered their licenses suspended by the Betting Control and Licensing Board, and Betway was one of the first to return to the game after the KLA discovered it was in accordance.
In their statement SportPesa added: “We recognize the support of our employees, customers and key stakeholders in this process and will be communicating soon on when we will be commencing operations. As Sportpesa, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting the government’s economic development agenda by operating as a law-abiding business that is committed to tax compliance.”
SportPesa may have noticed that they were fighting a losing battle as they attempted to bring its case to court when the tax drama began, but a judge ruled that it had not much basis to claim injustice.
Now the operators will allow their original tantrums to subside and return to business, putting everything in order for the time being, or at least until the president of Kenya chooses to ban gambling.