Kenya says will raise tax rate on gambling to 35 percent

PUBLISHED: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:52:12 GMT

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s president signed a law on Wednesday that raises the tax rate on gambling but sets it at a lower rate than had originally been proposed.

The law will impose a tax of 35 percent of gross profits on all gambling. Until now, lotteries were taxed at 5 percent, betting firms – bookmakers – at 7.5 percent, casino gambling at 12 percent and competitions like raffles at 15 percent.

Secretary for the National Treasury Henry Rotich had originally proposed raising the tax rate to 50 percent, saying the rapid growth of on-line gambling hurt the young and vulnerable, and the proceeds from the tax would fund sports, culture and the arts.

Gambling in Kenya generally takes place on-line. Mobile- phone-based financial services like M-Pesa by Safaricom allow users to place bets, pay off losses and get winnings on their phone without needing a bank account.

Industry executives say about 7 million out of 45 million Kenyans have registered for betting services. No figures are publicly available on the industry’s profits.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa, editing by Larry King)

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