President Yoweri Museveni has proposed new measures intended to strengthen the regulation of betting in Uganda, the Minister of State for Finance, David Bahati, told Parliament.
“It is true that I represented the President during an annual conference in Kigezi Diocese on Sunday and I made a comment that the President has directed on reforms in the sports betting sector,” said Bahati.
The media recently quoted Bahati saying that President Museveni had proposed new regulations in the sports betting sector.
Minister Bahati was responding to a matter of national importance raised by Hon. Allan Ssewanyana (DP, Makindye West). The MP said that banning betting would endanger lives.
“Betting is an industry that fetches Uganda almost over Shs50 billion in taxes. We can only set guidelines on how sports betting is done in Uganda,” said Ssewanyana during the plenary sitting Tuesday, 22 January 2019.
The Minister said that by proposing such reforms, government is seeking to strengthen and better regulate the sector with a view of having a limited number of betting companies.
The proposals include not licensing new betting companies or not renewing expired licenses of betting companies, limiting their areas of operation and having only local companies in the sector.
“We are looking at ways of ensuring that the limited space is given to only Ugandan owned companies because what is happening now, you bet and the money goes out of the country,” said Bahati.
In 2016, Parliament passed the Lotteries and Gaming Act, 2016 intended to reform the law relating to the conduct of lotteries, gaming, betting and casinos.
The minister added that regulating betting is aimed at protecting young people from engaging in the activity.
“There is great outcry by parents that some students are given school fees and they go out and bet this money,” said Bahati.
The Minister said that the President would make a statement on the proposed reforms on licensing of sports betting companies at a future date.