SportPesa fires 400 employees as it closes operations in Kenya

SportPesa has made good its threat and closed operations in Kenya, in the process rendering about 400 employers jobless.

This message was passed over to these employees on Wednesday by the gaming firm’s chief executive Ronald Karauri.

“I don’t know what to say, but it appears this journey cannot continue. I’m disappointed,” he is reported to have said.

SportPesa last week announced it had closed operations in Kenya in the wake of a tax dispute with the government.

“It is not possible to operate under the new tax rules. This has become a hostile business environment,” the company said in a statement.

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The dispute between SportPesa and the government has been on for three months now ever since the government withdrew licences of 15 betting firms it claimed were not paying taxes as required.

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Other firms – Betway and Mozzart – were cleared to operate but SportPesa and Betin, considered the firms with the largest market share in the country, couldn’t find their way back.

SportPesa’s exit also affects sponsorship deals it had signed with several football entities including Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Kenyan Premier League and Football Kenya Federation valued at hundreds of millions of shillings.

SportPesa also has partnerships with English Premier League sides Everton and Hull City which led to the teams travelling to Kenya to compete in friendlies against local sides Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks.

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