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Why SportPesa’s Return has been Delayed Despite Taxman Greenlight

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It has been three weeks since Sportesa was cleared by the taxman but the betting site is yet to resume operations.

SportPesa’s loyal customers have been impatiently waiting for the site to resume operations for over two months. When Sportpesa was cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority, its return seemed close.

The betting firm only needs to pass one hurdle before it’s cleared to resume normal operations. The reason it is yet to come back to the scene is that it has not been cleared by the Betting Control and Licensing Board of Kenya (BCLB).

According to BCLB Acting board director Peter Mbugi, SportPesa has not yet sent an application to BCLB for license renewal.

“SportPesa should apply afresh for a license,” said Mr. Mbugi, “We will scrutinize the firm’s license application after its made and make a decision on this just like we have done for many others.”

SportPesa had applied for a license before it was cleared by KRA but it was denied because of allegations that they weren’t tax-compliant. Now that SportPesa has reached a truce with the taxman, they will only be allowed to resume operations after being cleared by the sector regulator.

The betting firms that are now operational did not take much longer to resume normal business after being cleared by KRA. Betika, Betway among others took less than a week to resume operations after clearance by the taxman.

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri has been reluctant to speak about what is delaying Sportpesa’s return. SportPesa had suspended its sponsorship of local sports after its shut down by the government. The site is, however, operational in other countries including Tanzania, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Unlike other firms, SportPesa took a longer time to be cleared by the taxman. It’s rival Betin Kenya, is yet to be cleared by the taxman. SportPesa and Betin were the leading gambling sites in the country before the government shut down their operations because of alleged tax fraud.

Suspicions have been raised about SportPesa’s delayed return with many hinting that there might be some personal interests involved. Business Today’s feature about the low-key owners of the betting company who have been affected by the betting firm’s closure.

SportPesa issue with the Kenya Revenue Authority has been solved. BCLB is the only hurdle SportPesa has to overcome before resuming normal business.



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