Gaming drama-queen Sportpesa blackmailing government on tax cap

Gaming drama-queen Sportpesa blackmailing government on tax cap

- in News, Opinion
Captain Ronald Karauri is the CEO of Kenya's biggest sport betting company, SportPesa.

Every democratic country that is a member state to a community of civilized nations is governed by the rule of law that binds all operations within the territorial boundaries and which is consistent with the international law doctrine and practices.

As such, no matter the reservations any entity might hold, legislative functions executed by constitutionally mandated body like Parliament is legal.

However, since the law is as ass, concerns that are bound to arise must be addressed through the right channels and not through unorthodox means like ultimatums and inconsequential declarations.

The much hyped blanket withdrawal of local sports sponsorship by the gaming and betting franchise, Sportpesa is overrated and amounts to an arm-twisting move and outright blackmail against the government.

Be as it may, the much publicised pull out by Sportpesa will see remarkable dwindling of sports industry vis-a-vis the income generated from enthusiastically betting Kenyans compounded by lack of contingency measures by the same firm to initiate a reform programme for thousands of betting addicts majority of them youths in their most productive age who have abandoned sustainable employment gambling engagements.

Arising from the above, the long-term cost benefit analysis is ZERO.

On Monday, the High Court dismissed their legal bid to nullify a law that will raise the tax rate on gambling filed by the gaming and betting firms.

The tax hike imposed a tax of 35 per cent of gross profits on all gambling is now in effect.
Justice John Mativo said the Betting, Lotteries and Gambling Act was properly enacted, hence constitutional.

Pevan East Africa Limited, the owner of Sportpesa, and Bradley Limited that runs the Pambazuka National Lottery moved to court separately, claiming the tax hikes – which replaced variable tax rates on betting, gaming, lottery and sweepstakes — were unconstitutional.

Although the said Parliament approved it without public participation, it is imperative to note that legislators and representatives of electorates and the involvement is through a parliamentary procedure.

Much as Sportpesa might hold genuine concerns or otherwise saying the rate is high and unreasonable, the remedy to a legally binding law in force is not blackmail and ultimatums which will at least yield empty threats.

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