Friday, 15 February 2019

President Yoweri Museveni bans betting in Uganda

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni has banned sports betting in the country in a bid to tackle the malaise of idleness among the youths in the country.

The President in an issued directive mandated that no new gambling licenses be issued to sports betting companies and existing ones will not be renewed when they expire.

The Minister of State for Finance, David Bahati revealed this during a Sunday church gathering in January.

While speaking on the ban, Bahati said, “We have received a directive from President Museveni to stop licensing sports betting, gaming and gambling companies. The President has now directed the board which has been regulating them. From now onwards, no new companies are going to be licensed. Those which are already registered, no renewal of licenses when they expire.”

The ban has not gone down well with the betting companies who have recorded significant growth in Uganda and in Africa in general. Companies like Betway, have already come out in opposition to the ban and have indicated that it puts their investment at risk and that they were never consulted as stakeholders by the government.

However, President Museveni might have a pedestal of justification to stand on. According to a report, more than half of the Africans that bet on sports is under the age of 35. This has been facilitated on the continent through sports betting companies allowing users to place bets on their mobile sites or through their apps, making it more accessible for youth and easier for them to get addicted.

Also, it is believed in some quarters that an outright ban is less than ideal. It is believed that the government should have carried the sport betting companies along charging them to sensitize the gamblers on the negative effect of gambling.

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