Sportpesa Exits Kenyan Scene, Fires All Staff Citing ‘Hostile’ Business Environment

Kenya’s largest sports gaming firm, SportPesa, has quit operating in Kenya.

The firm said it would only resume operations when Kenya puts in place “adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment.”

The announcement just comes hours after the second-largest firm, Betin, announced that it was declaring its staff redundant.

The move comes after the government’s decision to impose a 20 per cent tax on all betting stakes, a move that the firms have cited as damaging on both their customers and treasury.

“Sportpesa is disappointed with the decision by the Kenyan legislature to impose a 20% excise tax on all betting stakes. The tax is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by the Rotich led treasury of how revenue generation works in the bookmaker industry,” read the statement in part.

It added; “Until such time that adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment is returned, the SportPesa brand will halt operations in Kenya.”

On the other hand, Betin, which operates as Gamcode Limited, told staff on Friday that the firm had been left with no option but to let them go.

“This has been occasioned by the fact that we have not been operational since July 2019 a fact we are all aware of. Management has had several extensive meeting with relevant government entities regarding the company’s license renewal without much success,” the memo dated September 27 stated.

The two firms were among a number of betting firms whose licenses were revoked by the government over a taxation row that found its way to the corridors of justice.

It is not clear how many staff members are affected by the move by Betin but it is expected to affect about 3,000 including those at Betin Shops scattered in various locations.

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