Betway’s Kenyan license was renewed on Wednesday after the sports betting giant agreed to a new 20% tax on punters’ total winnings. The 20% tax also applies to the punters’ initial stake.
On July 1, the Kenyan government suspended the licenses of 27 sports betting operators. Operators contested the government’s claim that they owed hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
Since then, the Kenya Revenue Authority has declared 10 of the operators tax-compliant. However, the Betting Control and Licensing Board has not renewed all their licenses. Only operators that agree to the new tax will have their licenses renewed. SportPesa, Betin, and other operators have refused to comply.
Of the 27 affected operators, only Betway and local operator Mozzart Bet have had their licenses renewed. Operators that complied immediately were allowed to continue offering services.
The government is also planning to impose strict new regulations on the gambling sector. A proposed bill includes a minimum stake of $50, as well as restrictions on gambling advertising. These are aimed at combating underage and problem gambling.
Kenya is the biggest gambling market in East Africa. The country has recently developed a booming market for online sports betting. However, the dispute between operators and the government has left the future of online sports gambling in the dark. President Uhuru Kenyatta called for a total ban on gambling last week, putting him at odds with operators and some lawmakers.