Betting industry in Kenya received a huge boost yesterday when President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the 20% tax on stake which had been in place since last year. The move proved an ease to SportPesa, a giant betting firm in East Africa which had folded up from the Kenyan market citing difficult business environment. But even before they make a move to be back to the country, a group of online influencers have taken issues with the betting firm claiming that they will destroy the lives of the youthful generation in the country.
Led by Robert Alai, the group have sanctioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to go back to the original tax levied on the betting firms. Alai urged President Kenyatta to stop betting activities in the country and revert back the money set to be gained by the betting firms led by SportPesa. He noted that in a single year, SportPesa managed to make more than 200 billion shillings from Kenyans.
“#SportPesa is now back with prominent people among the leadership. Kenyan youth will always be poor and exploited. Nothing mops money from the hands of poor Kenyans like gambling which President Uhuru has now licensed and untaxed. SHAME!!! “, states Alai on Twitter.
Another blogger and twitter user Lord Mutai believes that SportPesa and Betting in general will increase laziness in the country and will lead to loss of lives if allowed to return to the country.
Some Kenyans have also taken sides with the betting platforms pointing out that people bet and either win or lose voluntarily.
A number of those against Robert Alai’s assertions believe that bloggers are also guns for higher. They allege that the one time trusted blogger must have had his palms oiled by competitors keen on ensuring that SportPesa does not make a comeback into the country.
The group against the narrative have pointed out that the bloggers have failed to recognize that other betting platforms have been operating in the country even with the 20% tax on stake in place. Indeed, some including Betika, Odibets and Mozzartbet gained so many users from SportPesa when they left the country. Also, they claimed that Robert Alai has cleverly failed to mention other mushrooming companies which have been licensed since the exit of both SportPesa and Betin.
The conversion validates the highly rumored return of SportPesa. The company has been informing some of their old users to stay put as they process their accreditation from BCLB. Though they are yet to issue an official statement on the move by the Kenyan government to remove the highly contested tax requirement, SportPesa had noted that they will be back in the country when the environment is favorable for business.
When SportPesa and other betting sites left the country citing being fought by the government, notably, Robert Alai was on the forefront fighting for their space and arguing that they had helped Sponsor local sports. He was particularly concerned that SportPesa had changed many lives and alot of families will be rendered jobless if betting is brought to a halt.
Some of the betting companies including Betika and Odibets have already notified their customers of the move by the government to remove the tax levied on stakes.