GAMBLERS CLAIM TAX LAW PUNITIVE TO LOCAL OPERATORS.

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Milimani law courts where Gaming Operators have filed a suit seeking suspension of tax law passed by Parliament, which they say, favors their foreign counterparts.

BY SAM ALFAN.
Association of Gaming Operators has gone to court seeking suspension of tax law passed by Parliament, which they say, favors their foreign counterparts.

The law imposes an unconstitutional obligation upon gaming operators to inquire private taxation affairs of its customers by requiring them to reveal their personal identity numbers (PIN)

The operators through their lawyer Robert Macharia, told vacation judge Justice Mumbi Ngugi that the laws require gaming operators to withhold tax from foreigners who are not Kenya residents.

” Right to privacy as enshrined in Article 31 of the constitution, majority of customers which patronize gaming, houses/business do so for leisure and do not want their identity revealed” he said.

The lawyer said that law is discriminatory and goes further to criminalize local operators, saying the existence of the law that was passed by the finance Act 2015 is unconstitutional.

“Unless the said law is suspended pending the determination of the petition before the court the association members will close shops and cause loss of revenue and employment” the lawyer told the court.

Mr Macharia said that the court will asked to issue an order stopping the implementation of section 10 (g) of the income tax Act, pending the determination of the petition.

The court heard that sometime in 2013 Parliament passed the impugned law that require gaming operators to deduct withholding tax on “winnings” by their customers.

He said that one of the association members Pevans East Africa limited (Sportpesa) which is local company stand close shop if the law comes to effect, saying its competitor Betway conducts it casino and betting online and has no office in the country will not be affected by the new Act.

Mr Macharia submitted that Betway with no permanent establishment in Kenya is exempted from the provision of section 10 of the income tax Act and will enjoy unfair advantage against Kenyan operators.

The judge certified the application urgent and directed that same be served the attorney general and the matter be heard inter parties on January 12 to determine the concern of the petitioners.


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