Everything You Need to Know About the Gambling Industry in Uganda

In 2021, Statista reported that the gambling industry had hit a whopping $262 billion in valuation, making it one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Due to its huge economic benefits, mainly from taxes, governments around the world are now relaxing their gambling restrictions and allowing more betting companies to operate within their jurisdiction.

Uganda is an emerging gambling market and is currently at the center of the gambling industry rise in East Africa. But despite the multiple economic benefits attached to gambling, there have been reservations about its social impacts. This article will cover everything you need to know about the gambling industry in Uganda – from its legality to the different ways people enjoy gambling in the country.

Briefly away from Uganda, the US gambling market is probably the biggest in the world and is home to some of the best online casinos and gambling sites in the industry.

Gambling Regulations in Uganda

Gambling regulation in Uganda is a very tricky subject, as there are both restrictive and free laws. However, based on section 4 of the Gaming Act of 2016, the National Gaming Board of Uganda can issue licenses to casinos, gaming, betting, and lottery companies. The board has the power to investigate, examine, inspect, issue guidelines, and properly manage the industry.

Nevertheless, this Act is not the only regulation governing gambling in Uganda, and players must check their various state laws. Growth and Popularity of Gambling in Uganda Like in most countries around the world, gambling is one of the oldest pastime activities in Uganda. Gambling was not regulated in the country till the late 60s, but there have been records of gambling on football matches, horse races, cock fights, and also familiar casino games like poker and blackjack. A 2016 study showed that 37% of the men in Uganda’s capital Kampala placed bets that year.

Another study conducted by the Economic Policy Research Centre showed that roughly 45% of Ugandan males aged 18-30 were involved in some form of gambling. The number dropped to 25% for males above 30. The female gambling population in the country is relatively low, with only 4% claiming to have gambled in the past year. This number is said to have heavily increased during the pandemic, with many Ugandans placing bets on online casinos and sportsbooks.

Gambling in Uganda: Good or Bad?

In 2019, the President of Uganda, speaking through the Junior Finance Minister David Bahati, announced that the country would impose stiffer restrictions on gambling . This came barely two years after he relaxed a majority of the gambling restrictions and allowed international investors into the country. There was also no denying that the relaxation had massive impacts on the country’s economy.

In 2003, the Uganda gambling industry generated Shs 0.24 billion, and by 2021, the figure had risen to Shs 50.6 billion. Furthermore, rental income and job creation revenue were as high as Shs 13 billion per year. In the last two decades, the Uganda gambling industry ranked among the country’s most lucrative industries. According to the Uganda Revenue Authority, the tax revenue from gambling in the country has grown from $1 million in 2011 to over $13 million in 2021, an astronomical rise.

Unfortunately, there have been downsides to this growth. For one, there have been multiple reports of gambling addiction in the country. You have parents walking into betting shops and gambling away their children’s school fees and youths heavily relying on gambling as their source of income.

The Economic Policy Research Centre report showed that a vast percentage of the gambling population in Uganda spent roughly 12% of their monthly income on the activity. This is prevalent in the youths who now see gambling as a more reliable source of income compared to other established jobs that require physical and mental commitment. There have been solid arguments from both sides.

Some believe that all gambling activities should be entirely banned as it is affecting the lives of youths in Uganda and East Africa. Others believe gambling is not an issue as it’s a universal pastime activity. However, the government and gambling companies should create more awareness programs to enlighten people about the importance of responsible gambling.

The government stopped giving out new licenses and renewing old ones in 2020, but Ugandans have resorted to playing at offshore sites. It’s left to see what the future holds for the gambling industry in Uganda. The Bottom Line The Ugandan gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country but also one that has been met with multiple challenges over the years.

Source: chimpreports.com

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