Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has banned sports betting and gambling

Uganda's incumbent President Yoweri Museveni displays his inked finger after casting his vote at a polling station during the presidential elections in Kirihura in western Uganda, February 18, 2016. REUTERS/James Akena
  • Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has ordered that no new licences should be issued to sports betting companies nor permits for the existing ones be renewed.
  • According to Minister of State for Finance, Mr David Bahati, the president gave the directive saying that gambling has diverted the attention of the youth from hard work.
  • Since 2007 when Sports Betting Africa – the first sports betting company – set up offices in Uganda, over 200 more companies have subsequently joined the multi-billion shilling industry.

It will no longer be legal to participate in online betting in Uganda.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has ordered that no new licences should be issued to sports betting companies nor permits for the existing ones be renewed.

According to Minister of State for Finance, Mr David Bahati, the president gave the directive saying that gambling has diverted the attention of the youth from hard work.

“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 licences when they expire,” Mr Bahati revealed on Sunday during a church service in Rugarama Hill in western Kabale town.

Since 2007 when Sports Betting Africa – the first sports betting company – set up offices in Uganda, over 200 more companies have subsequently joined the multi-billion shilling industry. In Uganda’s urban centres currently, out of almost every ten blocks on the street, two or more are occupied by a sports betting company.

With high youth unemployment, sports betting is considered a popular alternative by some individuals in Uganda.

Mr Bahati said church leaders who have been complaining about sports betting can now praise the Lord since their prayers have been answered.

However, the Ministry of Finance spokesman, Mr Jim Mugunga, said he was unaware of the president's directive but added that he does not doubt it.

I don’t know but since it was said by a minister, quote him. That’s good news,” Mr Mugunga said.

Gambling is legal in many countries across the world and is a major source of revenue for the government, besides providing thousands of jobs.

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