SportPesa cancels all local sponsorship due to tax row
Sportpesa pulls plug on Kenyan sports
Betting firm SportPesa have announced they are cutting ties with all their local sporting partners as a row between them and the taxman rages on over new betting and gaming rules imposed. SportPesa are still opposed to a bill slapped on them by the tax man while their license has not been renewed with all their betting short codes shut down.
Primarily, the betting firm which has been in the country for five and a half years has not made money over the past one month that they have been at war with the government.
“Sportpesa as a business has been subjected to punitive measures by regulators such as delayed license renewal and the suspension of paybill numbers with these actions considerably reducing the level of business operations,” SportPesa said in their statement.
It adds; “This despite the existence of a court order prohibiting the regulator from taking such actions. This has brought about immense pressure on the business necessitating a reevaluation of some plans.”
Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, Kenya’s two biggest football teams have been thrown into disarray with the news. The Kenyan Premier League is the biggest hit with its headline sponsor walking out.
There is fear now that the league might fail to kick off as planned due to dire lack of funds. According to sources, staff have gone without pay for the last two months after SportPesa withheld payments and now that they have walked out, the situation remains dire.
The betting firm also sponsors the FKF Shield as well as boxer Fatuma Zarika.
This is the second time that the company is withdrawing its sponsorship. They did so two years ago when the government increased their taxation, but later came back, though dropping rugby entities from its list of sponsorship.
The company also sponsors rallying.
Sources further intimate that SportPesa might decide to close down the Kenyan market and concentrate on building their Tanzanian clientele if the impasse with the government continues.