The Finance minister Matia Kasaija has clarified that President Yoweri Museveni ordered that no new licences should be issued to foreign-owned sports betting companies nor renewing of permits for the existing ones.
Speaking to TheUgandan on Tuesday, Kasaija says there were “enlarged outflows” by the foreign companies which the government seeks to regulate.
These companies are making extraordinary profits from Ugandans and yet this money is being repatriated to outside countries.
“No no no, that is not the truth, there is no banning of gaming in Uganda but what we are saying is that these activities should be limited to Ugandans.”
Kasaija explained, “We have said the licences that are running will not be renewed when they expire and new ones will not be issued for foreigners because we have discovered that so much of our money is being exported through that game thing which I understand has very little value to the economy but then it ends up taking our scarce foreign exchange which we earn through very difficult circumstances like growing coffee so at least let us restrict the business to Ugandans who can keep the money here.”
On Sunday, junior minister, Mr David Bahati revealed during a church service that the President gave the directive saying that gambling has diverted attention of the youth from hard work which Mr Kasaija says is not a problem.
“I do not think if the youth are concentrating on gambling because they work first to get the money for betting,” he explained. I only advice them to work first and gamble after.”
We the new direction, the opportunity native Ugandan investors, entrepreneurs, and big corporations could be massive.
The sector contributed Ush41 billion ($10.8 million) in taxes to the Uganda economy in the 2017/18 financial.
The country has more than 40 licensed betting companies and over five licensed casinos. The majority of clients are drawn from the low-income class — a segment deeply attracted to football betting. A small pool of high-end clients prefer casino gambling services.
Experts have described gaming as a necessary evil the 35 per cent tax and the employment of at least 5,000 people in nine gaming companies.
About 400 online gaming companies are accessible to Ugandan punters. There is concern that gambling could be used to launder money.
Gambling is legal in Uganda and is regulated under The National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act. It mainly includes lotteries, casinos and gaming and pool betting. There are an estimated over 2,000 active gambling and betting operators in the country.
In an August 30, 2016 radio poll survey by TracFM, most Ugandan respondents 3324 (58%) of the 5762 participants supported the banning or minimising of sports betting in Uganda. 1782 (30%) said no, while 656 did not mind.
About 70 per cent Uganda’s population below 30 years are involved in betting activities.