Uganda state minister moots plan to control gambling addiction

Finance state minister Henry Musasizi has called for the installation of digital monitors to promote genuine gaming. He says this is aimed at strengthening the laws governing lotteries and protecting the public from the adverse effects of suspicious betting

Gambling is extremely popular among the young, with statistics indicating that more than 70 per cent of Ugandans under 30 are engaged in various forms of gambling according to a study by the Economic Policy Review Commission in 2015.

Musasizi says such a huge percentage of the youth once not controlled or limited from betting would turn into something else as well as controlling the expansion of gaming companies to every place.

“Our objective is to promote responsible gaming because we don’t want people to be addicted, I don’t know if this is good for the sector players, but it is like people who drink alcohol: You tell them it is for only people above the age of 18, but they insist that even in gaming below the age of 25, you are not supposed to engage in the gaming activities”, – he said.

Proper implementation of the law according to Musasizi, once the digital monitors are put in place, there will be proper implementation of the law and management of the group of people (below 25 years of age) that are not supposed to practice betting and hold to account non-compliant betting companies.

Henry Musasizi

Musasizi further explained that the digital monitor will play a key role in easing the collection of revenues and alerting the regulatory bodies to take action once a threat is detected. He made remarks at the launch of the National Lotteries and gaming Regulatory Board’s (LGRB) strategic plan 2022/23-2024/25 at the ministry’s head offices in Kampala recently.

Musasizi regretted imposing strict measures on gaming companies that contribute a huge amount of revenues of sh110b that was collected in 2021. However, he said there was a need to protect nationals from over-depending on gaming activities, which could lead to addiction and other related problems. Research has shown that gaming can affect self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and social life once a person is addicted to it and not controlled.

LGRB acting CEO Denis Ngabirano said the revenue collected from lotteries has increased by 4%. He lauded the state minister’s call for the installation of digital monitors because there will be excellent service delivery, strategic planning, and compliance in the sector.

According to global trends, gaming is technologically driven. Ngabirano added that it was only Uganda that has delayed using digital monitors to ease the work of monitoring daily. He said soon, the board will encourage the implementation of the national central monitoring system on both landlines and online modules.


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