The gaming industry owes the Kenya Revenue Authority Ksh 26 billion in unpaid taxes. Interior CS Fred Matiangi’ has said.
Matiangi’ says the Judiciary has frustrated KRA’s attempt to recover the money by issuing all manner of court orders sought by the players in the sector.
Speaking during a meeting with betting control and licensing stakeholders, Matiangi’ now says gaming companies seeking renewal of licences or applying for fresh ones will now undergo security vetting.
He further revealed that renewal of licences will be pegged on due payment of taxes owed to KRA saying renewal will no longer be automatic of guaranteed.
The CS said the Government will now introduce a regulatory framework to the gaming industry to minimize harm.
Matiangi’ said there will be stricter enforcement of the regulatory framework while the current law will be amended to align it with the global best practices.
There will be close monitoring on the movement of money within the industry in and out of the Country, while the Government expects the players ensure full compliance in tax payment.
The CS said the gaming industry in the Country is controlled by foreigners and the revenue raised is by betting firms is repatriated back to their Countries.
He said uncontrolled gambling has reorganized the financial lives of poor Kenyans in very drastic ways as it preys on the poor in that their little daily earnings are chanced away through gaming.
“We have numerous reports of increased personal financial delinquency and family break-ups arising out of gaming and betting and generally social defiance. Cases of suicide have been reported as well.”
According to a recent analysis, over 500,000 Kenyans have been blacklisted by the Credit Reference Bureau over defaults in repaying money borrowed for gambling. The evidence further shows that a majority of the gamblers are jobless and most are under the age of 35.
“All over the world, no society has developed through gaming, naked greed and an entrenched “get-rich-quick” culture. Therefore, the current misrepresentation propagated by the industry, using celebrities and influential social figures is adverts and social media, to convey the “economic logic” is outstandingly bad and shocking.” The CS said.
Matiangi’ said the annual turnover of the gaming industry has increased from a mere Ksh 2 billion to Ksh 200 billion in a span of 5 years, an economic growth he says that defies conventional economic logic.