Africa-focused online gaming company SportPesa is heading to court to fight Kenya's new 35% tax rate bill on all gambling revenue. Although the new tax rate is due to come into effect from January 2018, SportPesa has repeatedly expressed its displeasure at the move.
In response to the planned tax hike, SportPesa Founder and CEO Ronald Karauri has already announced last month the withdrawal of sponsorship to local sports clubs including the partnership with the Kenyan Premier League.
The gaming firm was considering shifting its operational base to the neighbouring country of Tanzania or the United Kingdom. However, recent news suggests that Uganda would be SportPesa’s final choice. A government delegation and SportPesa directors have held unofficial talks to discuss the betting company's expansion to Uganda, where President Yoweri Museveni is willing to help by making concessions.
Speaking to the local press, both parties involved expressed gratitude over the initiation of this dialogue. Karauri said: “We are committed to supporting the development of the game in Uganda, just as we have done in Kenya.
“We will offer advice and mentoring support across a range of business areas to include; stadium operations, marketing, media & business management.”
On their behalf, Minister Nakiwala commented: “ We are going to look at SportPesa in isolation because it is coming with a heavy weight of promoting football; investing in academies, investing in young people, giving them employment. It is beyond gaming.”
After these closed-door meetings, it is expected that both parties will seat again to discuss further issues.