The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) held an awareness forum to educate the public on the impact of the betting tax, its compliance requirements, and revenue mobilisation.
The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) regulates the betting and gaming sector in partnership with other multi-agencies to ensure that companies comply with the law.
KRA’s Chief Manager of the Domestic Taxes Department, Miriam Sila, stated that over 170 firms are licensed to operate in Kenya, with over 50 licensed casinos mostly located in major cities.
The most popular table games in the country include Blackjack, Roulette, and Poker.
Ms Sila added that betting firms are required to register for tax through the iTax system, a fully integrated and automated web-based system that enables taxpayers to register for various tax obligations, file returns, and make status enquiries.
KRA has linked its systems with 16 sports gaming firms and aims to integrate with an additional 20 companies, which will represent a 96% stake in the market.
The taxman collects a gross turnover of Sh50 billion and betting companies are required to remit taxes daily, with account managers assigned to each company to ensure compliance.
In the financial year 2021/2022, KRA collected Sh21 billion, the highest amount recorded since the collection of betting and gaming tax.
In addition, Ms Sila revealed that the taxman has a target collection of Sh24 billion and has collected Sh15.8 billion so far from betting, lottery, and gaming.
With gaming being popular among the youth, withholding taxes are paid to the Sports, Arts, and Social Development Fund, which funds activities undertaken by the youth.
The tax officer acknowledged that the industry faces several challenges, including manual coordination with the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), balancing tax collection and protection of the youth from harmful gambling activities, and lobbying from sector players to change laws.
However, the industry has developed strategies to ensure compliance, such as conducting taxpayer engagement to educate them on new tax laws, liaising with internal departments for intelligence gathering, and data sharing from the regulator and other agencies to enhance monitoring.