East Africa renews efforts to arrest gambling addiction

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East African governments have renewed efforts to bring the betting industry under strict control amid claims of tax evasion and fears of a growing gambling culture and addiction among youth, who are mostly unemployed, write Njiraini Muchira and Dicta Asiimwe for The East African.

Kenya and Uganda have moved to vet industry players with threats of revocation of licences to tame the proliferation of betting, gaming and gambling outlets.

Despite imposing punitive tax regimes, restricting the importation of gaming devices and impounding and burning gambling machines, the sector has continued record growth.

Uganda levies a 35% tax on betting, while in Kenya the betting tax was reduced to 15% after lobbying by sector players.

While both countries have resorted to drastic measures to contain a sector that has largely become a social and economic menace. Tanzania enacted a strong regulatory framework through the Gaming Act 2003.

In the 2017-18 financial year, Tanzania collected $36 million from gaming and betting.

Govts raising taxes and restricting licensing to arrest gambling addiction

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