Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting all gambling activities in the country. He made the announcement while speaking at the 60th anniversary of the Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM) Church in Karen, Nairobi. Additionally, Kenyatta said he expects all bookmakers to pay taxes they owe to the authorities.
"We have this thing called gambling, it is very bad, I alone cannot end it, go back to the constitution and change the laws," said President Uhuru Kenyatta, according to local media. According to the President, the gambling business is only beneficial to several individuals.
The president’s call follows the suspension of 27 betting companies’ licenses, including sports betting giant SportPesa, in July, for failure to pay taxes. Kenyan regulators have been in a long-running argument with operators over the 20% tax on gambling winnings that is imposed on both payouts and original bets. The state’s regulatory body, the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), expects $586.4 million in unpaid taxes from the 27 affected companies.
Local politicians support SportPesa, and some lawmakers from the National Assembly and Senate have called the taxes illegal.