Minister welcomes sports betting levy

HARARE - The minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kazembe Kazembe, has expressed gratitude with the introduction of sports betting bookmakers levy by the minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa in his 2018 budget presentation which will go a long way in aiding sports developmental projects.

The sports betting houses reportedly generate over $30 million per annum and government with effect from January 1 next year will start levying the betting industry five percent of their gross takings.

“I am excited that in the 2018 budget presentation...with effect from January 1, 2018, the government will levy all the sport betting bookmakers five percent of gross takings, realising that the sport betting industry in the country has rapidly grown as a recreational activity, generating in excess of $30 million per annum,” Kazembe said in his keynote address at last week’s Annual National Sports Awards in Harare.

“The revenue collected will then be used to mobilise resources to upgrade community sport and recreation infrastructure throughout the country. This would entail that the identification of talent, grooming of athletes and preparation for podium performance will commence at grassroot level.”

Karateka Samson Muripo walked away with the top prize after he was named Sports Person of the Year ahead of defending champion and bodybuilder Helen Costa who had won the same accolade in 2016.

The minister emphasised his ministry will to look into the construction and improvement of existing facilities in the coming years.

“In the new dispensation, the government has moved to revive the sport industry through fiscal support for infrastructure development. This will give my ministry the impetus it needs for implementation of development policies. The major thrust is being put on the construction of facilities and improvement on the existing ones for the enhancement of podium performance,” Kazembe added.

“In the next decade, government will ensure that each of the country’s 10 provinces and the administrative districts have a multi-purpose facility. Such facilities will improve the livelihood of communities in those areas as well as create employment. The move to commit government support for infrastructure development will also enhance the competitiveness of Zimbabwean athletes on the global stage and provide the country with an opportunity to bid to host high profile international competitions...there will be deliberate approach to modernise existing facilities such as the National sports Stadium and install bucket seats at this giant facility.”

Sports and Recreation Commission chairperson Edward Siwela also gave reference to the recognition the sports sector got from the Finance ministry following the 2018 budget presentation.

“...Already, in his budget speech,...Chinamasa, expressed the government’s commitment to providing funding in the next ten years for the development and refurbishment of sporting facilities,” Siwela said.

“This year the competition has been very high owing to the achievements that were posted by our athletes across various sporting disciplines and in competitions around world. This is testimony to the hard work that coaches, athletes and administrators put in towards achieving these results.”