KENYA EXIT

Betting companies SportPesa and Betin have closed shop in Kenya

Firms halted their operations following the decision to introduce the excise tax.

In Summary

• The decision to shut down operations in Kenya has not affected SportPesa’s operations in other countries. 

• Sportpesa’s had sued BCLB for damages resulting from loss of business and a breach of fundamental rights following decision to suspend their paybill numbers and betting shortcodes.

Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri when he adressed staff at the firm's offices in Nairobi.
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri when he adressed staff at the firm's offices in Nairobi.
Image: COURTESY

A Facebook post claiming that betting firms SportPesa and Betin have halted operations and terminated staff in Kenya is TRUE.

The post contains a screenshot of a tweet from the official SportPesa account responding to the introduction of a 20% excise tax on betting stakes, as well as an internal memo from the managing director of Gamcode Kenya Limited, which trades as Betin, stating that employees would be declared redundant due to the new regulations.

The betting firms have halted their operations in Kenya following the decision to introduce the excise tax, as well as a 20% withholding tax on winnings.

 
 

SportPesa announced the decision to halt operations in Kenya, citing the excise tax on all betting stakes as a contributing factor.

Pevans East Africa, Sportpesa’s holding company, had sued the Betting Control and Licencing Board for damages resulting from loss of business and a breach of fundamental rights following the board’s decision to suspend their paybill numbers and betting shortcodes, as well as those of 26 other companies and lotteries in July.

The decision to shut down operations in Kenya has not affected SportPesa’s operations in other countries. Sportpesa had previously withdrawn sponsorships for all Kenyan teams following the imposition of a 35 percent tax on its earnings, but this was reinstated following consultations with the government.

With the most recent suspension of operations, the company has stated that this decision would stand ‘until such time that adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment is returned in Kenya’.

PesaCheck has looked into the claim that SportPesa and Betin have halted operations in Kenya and finds it to be TRUE.

This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.

By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organisations like PesaCheck are helping to sort fact from fiction. We do this by giving the public deeper insight and context to posts they see in their social media feeds.

Have you spotted what you think is fake news or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here’s more information on PesaCheck’s methodology for fact-checking questionable content.

This fact-check was written by PesaCheck Researcher James Okong’o, was edited by PesaCheck Deputy Editor Ann Ngengere and was approved for publication by PesaCheck Managing Editor Eric Mugendi.