Betting fans and football enthusiasts have not only been mourning but also engaged in all kinds of crazy antics. This following the move by betting companies to levy 20 percent tax on their money, even before placing bets.
Last week, social media was literally on fire as the dreaded gang of Kenyans On Twitter engaged betting companies and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over what gamers called ‘daylight robbery without violence’.
It all started after Betika began chopping off the 20 per cent tax on both the stake and win placed on games.
The betting firm felt the heat on social media as punters wondered how they would tax money deposited in their online wallets, even before betting.
The fury was evident as betting enthusiasts went on a blame game, attacking the taxman for not taking time to understand how betting works and rushing to punish punters by slashing both their stakes and wins.
So incensed were the betting enthusiasts, with some suggesting they stage a naked protest outside the taxman office.
One naughty fellow threatens to push the protest further by nailing his testicle on the ground at Times Tower (the building that houses KRA.
“The manner in which the Government is handling the betting industry in Kenya is appalling, shocking and disastrous. It seems like a deliberate move by the concerned authorities to severely punish not only the companies but Kenyans who do business with the companies too,” lamented a blogger on a popular online forum.
A dejected Gor Mahia fan threatened to mobilise the ‘green army’ and stage one of a kind protest by defecating outside Times Tower should the team not get money for sponsorship to take part in the CAF Champions League following the withdrawal of the same by SportPesa.
“Already, Mashemeji (AFC Leopards) have launched a Paybill number to raise money to pay their coach and players. But us being proud, we will not go round begging like our shemejis, we will stage a mother of all protests and defecate at Times Tower if Gor Mahia misses any of their continental matches because of lack of money,” fumed the fan on social media.
Sportpesa, the leading local betting firm, stopped sponsoring both Gor and AFC after its license was withdrawn by the government and things don’t look like they will be the same again.
Fans say the 20 per cent withholding tax on gaming pay-outs, which includes the stake and the win, is daylight robbery that should not be accepted.
“Why should I place a bet, win then KRA come to literally loot 20 per cent of both my stake and win? If KRA feels so jealous, why can’t it place its own bet?
“When I deposit money in my online wallet, it’s like the money is still in my pocket. Why should someone come and take 20 per cent of it? If this is not theft by Government, what is it?” a sports enthusiast asked.
Some of the complainant had no kind words for the taxman, insisting they are adults and they bet for fun using their hard-earned money.
“Why is my entertainment money being taxed when I have already paid income tax in the first place? Also, I feel the government should interpret what ‘winnings’ mean. Do ‘winnings’ include my stake in an online wallet? Is the tax being paid by the firms not enough…” wondered a betting enthusiast, citing disregard for a court order.
“This government will go in history as one that had no regard for court orders. This dispute should follow the Tax Procedures Act to reach a solution,” he scoffed.
Interestingly, some of the betters have already made good their threats to punish the taxman by deny him any revenues.
Many claim that they have already joined offshore betting firms, where they use PayPal, an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers.