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The National Assembly of Kenya has approved a budget bill removing the controversial excise tax on betting stakes.

While the 20% excise tax on stakes, which was introduced in the country’s 2019/20 budget, was initially set to be carried over in the 2020/21 finance bill, an amendment put forward by the National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee led to its removal.

The tax removal was suggested by an entity named Shade.co.ke, which said the tax “has made many betting firms strapped for cash hence cutting down on sponsorships to local sports clubs.”

This was then adopted by the Committee, which told Shade that “the reason behind [removing the tax] was that the high level of taxation had led to punters placing bets on foreign platforms that were not subject to tax and thereby denying the government revenue.”

Removing the tax would “reverse the negative effects […] on the industry, which has led to the closure of betting shops in Kenya,” it explained.

In the National Assembly debate, Finance Committee chair Joseph Kirui Limo repeated this sentiment, arguing that the reduced tax would actually increase revenue.

“This is going to enhance revenue, because currently, revenue is going down,” he said.

The bill will now be put before President Uhuru Kenyatta, who can sign it into law or send it back to the legislature.