BBI: Another Huge Blow for SportPesa as Gov’t Set to Take Over Sports Betting

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that was officially launched for reading-and eventual adoption, has also addressed sports issues.

The report, which claims Kenyans spend tens of billions of shilling on lotteries each year, recommends that the government sets up a national lottery that will serve as a funds’ reservoir for youth development projects.


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“The task-force suggests that the private betting industry be replaced with one major one run by the government, whose proceeds, as is the case in other countries, are used for activities that uplift the youth, sports, culture and other social activities beneficial to citizens,” the report states.

“The private betting industry is leading to hopelessness and greater poverty,” it added.

If the recommendation is adopted, Kenya could see big sports betting companies closed down, sounding the death knell on a brief but controversial reign that they have enjoyed in the lucrative sector.

In August, the government said sports betting firms owed the country more than Sh26 billion in unpaid taxes, and threatened to immediately deport any foreigners engaged in the business under false visas.

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri. The firm in September fired 400 employees [Photo, Courtesy]

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is currently locked in a legal battle with betting companies seeking to have a 20 percent Income Tax charged on the stakes-placed by bettors.

Notably, the proposal will also see Kenya get the first national lottery, the closest such institution being the privately run Kenya Charity Sweepstake that was founded in 1966.

Tenlot Group Ltd of United Kingdom has so far acquired notable control over the Kenya Charity Sweepstake.

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