Lately, the interest in gambling – both off- and online – seems to be increasing in East Africa. This has made the region’s gambling sector one of the largest businesses, with it generating solid tax revenue, on which the government depends.
However, concerns about the possible negative impact which gambling could have on Uganda communities have emerged. More and more people, including underage individuals, have been reported as getting hooked on gambling, so the authorities have been focused on tackling the activities of the gambling operators.
The Government of Uganda has announced new rules about the country’s gambling industry, to impose stricter control on foreign gambling companies.
David Bahati, the Junior Finance Minister, shared that young Ugandan people are trapped in what he called “a vicious cycle of betting”, as they spend their money to bet on games while trying to win the jackpot. Minister Bahati further revealed that no new gambling licenses are to be granted, and the operators which already have a license would not get a renewal when these licenses expire.
No New Gambling Licenses to Be Issued in Uganda
The last few years have seen some new betting companies set foot in the region of East Africa, with a great deal of their offering being available through mobile phones. For the time being, betting on the English Premier League is among the most popular choices for local punters.
These companies have been encouraged by governments, as the latter have been seeing them as a source of significant tax revenue. Uganda’s President Museveni has also been very encouraging to the new betting operators in the country, is now changing his stance on the matter. In fact, Museveni has expressed his concern that the foreign-owned companies are actually draining profits from Uganda rather than re-investing them in Uganda.
When answering a parliamentary question, the Junior Finance Minister Bahati explained that for the time being, only Ugandan betting companies will be allowed to operate in the country.
Betting Among Male Ugandans Aged 18-30 on the Rise
Apart from the concerns that foreign gambling operators only drain money from the local economy instead of investing more money in the country, competent authorities in Uganda have also shared concerns that an increasing number of young individuals has been engaged in gambling.
According to a recent study carried out by the Economic Policy Centre, a little less than half (45%) of male Uganda residents between 18 and 30 years of age have already participated in some form of gambling. In comparison, the percentage rate of all adults in the country who engaged in gambling was much smaller (around 25%). In addition, more male residents tend to be engaged in betting activities, with less than 4% of the female individuals who took part in the research having ever participated in sports betting.
The study also found that Ugandan people who see gambling as a way to escape poverty are actually more likely to become gambling addicts in comparison to the ones who see gambling merely as a pastime activity.