Kenya’s Finance Bill Targets Gambling Tax Increases

June 4, 2024
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Kenya’s Finance Bill 2024 includes proposals to increase the excise duty on gambling products, remove their VAT exemption, and expand the scope of gambling adverts required to pay excise duty.
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Kenya’s Finance Bill 2024 includes proposals to increase the excise duty on gambling products, remove their VAT exemption, and expand the scope of gambling adverts required to pay excise duty.

The bill was published on May 9, 2024, and submitted to the National Assembly by the Treasury. 

Its first reading took place on May 13 and the budget statement for the 2024/25 financial year is scheduled to take place on June 13.

The bill includes proposals to increase the excise duty on gaming, betting and lottery products from 12.5 percent to 20 percent.

The bill also proposes to amend the VAT status of several products currently exempt from tax including gaming, betting and lottery products. The proposed rate of VAT is 16 percent.

Additionally, it is proposed that the existing excise duty on gambling adverts that currently applies to traditional forms of media, such as television and print, is expanded to online adverts, including social media platforms. 

There is still a chance that the proposals could be changed or removed when the final budget is approved, which has happened in recent years. 

The 2024 Budget Policy statement published in February warned that applying excise duty tax to gambling activities could lead to a rise in unlicensed gambling and an increase in illicit activities.

The government responded to this concern by saying that gambling has “negative social impacts on society particularly among the youth thus the need to discourage participation in the activities.”

“The Government will review the excise duty on betting and gaming to fully address the negative externalities.”

Kenya’s Parliament is currently discussing the Gambling Control Bill 2023, although there has not been a recent official update on its progression.

The bill proposes the creation of a new gambling regulator, advertising restrictions and new taxation on operators.

Separately, Kenya was added to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) greylist on February 23.

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