After months of back and forth with the government, betting firms Sportpesa and Betin have finally thrown in the towel and halted their Kenyan operations.
Spotpesa which was the largest betting firm in Kenya, will see an unknown number of staff lose their income due to the decision.
In a statement, the firm said it would resume operations when Kenya puts in place, “adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment.”
“The tax is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by the (former Treasury CS Henry) Rotich led treasury of how revenue generation works in the bookmaker industry. This decision will have a damaging impact on both customers and treasury,” the statement read in part.
The firm said compounded by the currently in-effect 20 percent withholding tax on winnings, the economic incentive to place bets will be completely removed as the taxes will deprive consumers of their total winnings.
On Saturday, Sportpesa also deactivated their website and all other betting platforms.
Their announcement come in just hours after the second-largest firm, Betin, announced that it was declaring all their staff redundant.
In a memo from the Managing Director, Betin, which operates as Gamcode Limited, told staff on Friday that the firm had been left with no option but to let them go.
They will be rendered redundant on October 31.
“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,” read the memo.
The two firms were among 27 betting companies which were barred from conducting business in Kenya whose licenses were revoked by the government over a taxation row that found its way to the corridors of justice.
Apart from Kenya, Sportpesa also operates in Tanzania.