President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni has taken steps to stop gambling in the country following his order to authorities to stop the issuance and renewal of licences to betting firms in the country.
The Finance Minister, David Bahati said on Monday, “The directive was received on the matter and it is going to be implemented,”
Speaking to local newspaper Daily Monitor, Bahati said Museveni had ordered that “from now onward, no new companies are going to be licensed. Those which are already registered no renewal of licences when they expire.”
Gambling in sport has become a phenomenon across East Africa, driven by the ubiquity of satellites and digital television, with smartphones and that enable online and app-based gambling.
In just a few years, betting shops have emerged widely in cities, towns and villages across Uganda,
Samuel Mutekanga, an operator at one of the leading sports betting companies in Kampala, Betway, was shocked by the decision.
“The directive is not only a surprise but shocking. It is a danger to our investment,” he said.
“Were we consulted? No. How can such a ban come in a pedestrian way? Where does it leave the money we have invested?” he added.
Patrick Lubaale, another sports betting official at Galz Betting in downtown Kampala, said thousands of people depended upon the industry.
“If the president is complaining about the negative effects on young people, we have already been sensitising the public about the irresponsible betting and people are aware about this, but this should not be reason to ban the trade,” he said.