Kenya says will raise tax rate on gambling to 35%

The law will impose a tax of 35% of gross profits on all gambling. Until now, lotteries were taxed at 5%.

FILE: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the law on Wednesday. Picture: AFP.

NAIROBI - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a law on Wednesday that raises the tax rate on gambling but sets it at a lower rate than had originally been proposed.

The law will impose a tax of 35% of gross profits on all gambling. Until now, lotteries were taxed at 5%, betting firms - bookmakers - at 7.5%, casino gambling at 12% and competitions like raffles at 15%.

Secretary for the National Treasury Henry Rotich had originally proposed raising the tax rate to 50%, saying the rapid growth of on-line gambling hurt the young and vulnerable, and the proceeds from the tax would fund sports, culture and the arts.

Gambling in Kenya generally takes place on-line. Mobile- phone-based financial services like M-Pesa by Safaricom allow users to place bets, pay off losses and get winnings on their phone without needing a bank account.

Industry executives say about 7 million out of 45 million Kenyans have registered for betting services. No figures are publicly available on the industry's profits.