Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has pushed the Government to stop issuing or renewing any gambling operators’ licenses. The President’s order applies to both existing gambling and sports betting operators who will need a license renewal and new companies which have not yet managed to have an established presence in the local gambling sector.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 active gambling and betting operators in Uganda.
Uganda has 2,000 betting and gambling operators. 2,000!
— Chaos Theory (@Samwyri) January 21, 2019
Speaking at the closure of the 2019 Brethren Conference of Diocese of Kigezi, Minister for Finance David Bahati has explained that no further gambling and betting operating licenses will be issued to companies for the time being. Mr. Bahati, who represented the President at the conference, explained that Museveni’s directive follows concerns which have been raised especially by religious leaders saying that a large number of young citizens of the country were affected by gambling-related harm.
According to Mr. Bahati, young people in Uganda get involved in dangerous betting activities, placing wagers with their little earnings while believing they could quickly and easily win a large amount of money. The Minister for Finance further noted that local religious leaders also raised red flags about online gambling and how it had reduced productivity among children in Uganda.
Now, the Government is to suspend issuance of operating licenses to all gambling and betting companies as the authorities are aimed at taking charge of the industry in order to make sure that local residents stop counting on winning cash based on speculation and uncertainty.
Museveni bans betting in uganda by refusing to renew their licences also their have been rampant case violence and laziness amongst youths due to gambling
— Victor Owino Ongoro (@Owinoongoro) January 21, 2019
NGBU Chairperson Says There Is No Official Communication on the Issue
However, Manzi Tumubweine, the National Gaming Board Uganda’s chairperson, revealed that no official communication on the pronouncement had been received by his office for the time being.
Mr. Tumubweine explained that he would not comment on details he is not aware of yet. He said that he still did not know how the Government intends to do what it has been urged to by the President.
For the time being, gambling is legal in Uganda, with casinos, lotteries and pool betting being the most common forms of gambling. A couple of laws regulate the gambling sector in the country, including the National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act.
A few years ago, TracFM released a radio poll survey in which 5762 people took part from August 21st to 30th, 2016. More than half of them, 3324 which represents about 58% of all participants, backed the idea of stricter measures to be imposed on sports betting in Uganda, including a full ban or at least minimization of the service. About 30% of the people who took part in the survey (1782) said they do not think such measures are necessary, while 656 people responded that they do not have an opinion on the matter.