Sport betting company SportPesa has announced it will end sponsorship of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) after the government imposed a hefty tax increase on gaming revenue.
Company boss Ronald Karauri said the 35% increase would negatively affect its business operations.
KPL’s top official Jack Oguda told the BBC that the news was devastating for Kenyan football.
SportPesa’s sponsorship of teams outside Kenya will not be affected.
It currently sponsors English teams Everton and Hull City.
SportPesa is one of East Africa’s major gambling companies.
The tax was imposed to deter minors from betting.
Kenyans are the biggest gamblers in sub-Saharan Africa. Three-quarters of 17-to-35 year olds in Kenya admit to having placed a bet, according to a recent survey.
Young men use mobile phone apps to predict local and international football matches.
There have been concerns about its negative effects on young people with parents and religious leader saying it is harmful and urging the government to act.
Parliament had initially slapped a 50% tax on bookmakers, lottery companies and sports betting sites, which was lowered to 35% before the president signed it to law.
Mr Karauri told the BBC that the tax hike was likely to drive betting underground.
In another statement he said that regulation and not taxation was the best way to deal with the concern about betting effects on minors.
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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)