Kenya Plans Gambling Tax Cut but Will Restrict Ads


kenya-plans-gambling-tax-cut-but-will-restrict-adsFor a long time now, gambling operators in Kenya have been hoping that the government will finally heed their call to cut the current tax rates on the industry. Now it seems that their relief won’t be far off, with the government announcing that it is mulling the reduction of all tax on gambling revenue from the current 35% to just 15%. Up until now, gambling operators were also slapped with a 25% levy to go towards social causes, and this number has also been lowered to 5%.

It didn’t take the government very long to realize that its 35% tax rate, which it introduced in January this year, was not sustainable. Long before the new tax rates were imposed, gambling operators warned the government that their profit margins would be immediately cut in half and that many would be forced to fold. Thankfully, the authorities heeded these warnings, and, the National Finance and Planning Committee proposed to cut the tax as soon as possible.

But it wasn’t all good news for the Kenya gambling industry. The country’s Film Classification Board, the KFCB, has called for a complete ban on gambling ads between 5 in the morning and 10 at night on prime TV. The argument is that children need to be protected from the ‘dangers’ of gambling, and therefore they should not be exposed to gambling advertising in the media.

The chief executive officer of the KFCB, Ezekiel Mutua said that the organization would take legal action against media houses that air betting and gambling ads during the specified time frame.

“KFCB will be stern on media houses that air betting and gambling adverts during the water-shed periods and before we do that let all the media houses be responsible,” he said in a radio interview. Matua is convinced that these types of ads have led to a greater number of youth in the 12 – 17 year age group try out betting and, in some cases, commit theft in order to maintain their gambling habits.

Thobani Mkhize

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