Uganda Gaming Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for January 25, 2019

Uganda Puts The Brakes On Gambling

President says no new license awards, no further license renewals

According to Ugandan media, President Yoweri Museveni has placed a blanket ban on gambling and betting saying the Government will halt new license awards as well as license renewals.

State Minister for Finance, David Habati, speaking on behalf of the President at a conference this past weekend, said the President’s directive follows concerns from religious leaders that Uganda’s youth were wasting their lives and money on betting and that gambling reduces productivity and sinks families further into poverty.

Sceptics note the Government would lose much needed taxes and questions arise whether the decree will have to be passed through Parliament.

Manzi Tumubweine, chairperson of Uganda’s National Gaming Board was unaware of the directive saying his office has not yet received any official communication on the issue.

Ugandan Govt Will Only Curb Foreign Online Gamlbing Operators (Update)

Finance Minister clarifies President’s order

Ugandan Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has clarified reports on a Presidential directive banning the issue of new, and the renewal of, gambling licenses (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Kasaija said only foreign online gambling and sports betting firms will feel the force of the directive as a direct measure preventing operators from “repatriating profits to their mother countries.”

“We’re not banning gaming,” Kasaija told journalists at a press briefing at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala, this week. “We’re saying this activity should be limited to only Ugandans.

“We have said that licensees that are running will not be renewed and new ones will not be issued to foreigners because we’ve discovered so much of our money is being exported through that gaming thing which as far as I am concerned has little value to the economy.

“It ends up by taking our very scarce foreign exchange which we earn through very difficult circumstances like growing coffee and other crops.”

Kasaija emphasised that licensing priority would be given to locally owned companies who can offer a clear plan on how they will contribute to the development of the economy instead of foreign operators who “starve the economy of foreign exchange”.