After Operators Rise Up in Kenya; Government Shoots Tax Reduction Proposal Down

Published September 8, 2018 by Lee R

After Operators Rise Up in Kenya; Government Shoots Tax Reduction Proposal Down

Some countries have more severe gambling ill than others: Kenya requires added protection, as operators have starkly learned.

After a failed bid for more favorable conditions, a new gambling tax in Kenya has many operators scrambling.

Taxing Rates

Kenya’s whopping 35% tax on gaming stands, after an operator-led bid to reduce the tax to 15 percent was rejected by the Finance and National Planning Committee was rejected by MP’s for amendment to Financial Bill 2018—along with a request to reduce the percentage of revenue donated to social causes from the current rate of 25 percent to 5 percent.

Opposition Movement

The MP leading the opposition was Mvita Abdulswamad Nassir, claiming that the MP’s were supposed to be informed on total revenues collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority to compare to how much it would rake in if the rate was reduced to 15 percent.

Opposition Leader Speaks

Nassir further voiced the belief that the tax should actually be increased to discourage youth from gambling.

Nassir said that he would have rather proposed an amendment that would have pushed up the tax in order to discourage youth from gambling, citing the current surge in all forms of gambling across Kenya that threatens the nation’s youth.

Female Perspective

Murang’a Women Representative Sabina Chege echoed the opposition by pointing to rising rates of suicide due to gambling debts in the country, and further sources of youth skipping school to gamble or adults failing to show up to work in favor of gambling.

Conflicting Code Denied

MP Kubai Iringo further echoed the proposed tax by pointing out that Parliament can’t be increasing the price of food in the country while allowing tax cuts to gambling operations at the same time, and while a country such as Italy comes out strongly by banning advertisements for gambling and lotteries.

The Origin of the Tax

The personal testaments among officials opposing the reduction were even more widespread, serving to reinforce agreement with the original June 2017 signing by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to set the 35% rate across the board.


In light of the social ills of gambling in the country, operators should make a decision one way or another: trying to change laws in this manner ultimately comes off as neither socially productive nor unselfish, and further pursuance cannot reflect well on operators.

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