Sports betting firm SportPesa has sacked 400 Kenyan employees days after halting operations in the east African nation.
The online sports gambling firm has cited Kenya's rise in tax on betting stakes.The firm is the main sponsor of Everton football club and has partnerships with English clubs Arsenal, Southampton and Hull City. Chief Executive Officer Ronald Karauri announced the decision to employees in a morning meeting on Wednesday, the Citizen TV reports.
"We've been keeping our employees for three months with no revenue so we had to do what we had to do. With the new taxation rules, the business has become tricky," Mr Karauri later told a radio talk show in Nairobi. The firm's fortunes took a turn for the worse three months ago after the Kenyan government ordered it and 26 other betting firms to renew their permits following a dispute on taxation and regulation.
Optimism for a settlement with Kenya Revenue Authority on tax arrears fizzled last month. Sacked employees on Wednesday took to Twitter to share their job loss experiences through the hashtags #SaveMyJob and #ILostMyJob. There have been concerns about the negative effects of betting on young people, with parents and religious leaders urging the government to act.