Uganda’s government cashes out from gambling boom

Uganda’s gambling figures seem to be on the rise as the East African country records Shs2.1 trillion in the half year to 2023. This figure is according to the country’s National Gaming and Lotteries Regulatory Board which noted that the amount was sunk into sports and related betting.

The government is also generating a substantial amount from this industry primarily from tax turnovers.

  • Uganda’s gambling sector witnesses a staggering Shs2.1 trillion expenditure in just six months.
  • Tax revenue from the betting industry has tripled since the previous year, reaching Shs75 billion.
  • With 45 betting establishments nationwide, Uganda experiences a surge in high rollers.

The Shs2.1 trillion spent on gambling in the period under review which spans six months, is already dangerously close to the figures for the full 2022/23 year which came in at Shs2.4 trillion, as seen in the Ugandan publication, The Monitor.

According to the National Gaming and Lotteries Regulatory Board, the Shs2.1 trillion could double before the full year’s end.

Mr. Denis Ngabirano, the chief executive officer of the National Gaming and Lotteries Regulatory Board, told the Monitor that increased compliance and licensing had led to a rise in the gaming and betting industry’s sales and tax revenue.

The tax revenue, according to the CEO had tripled since the previous year and continues to grow at an average of 25.3% in the last four fiscal years, dating back to the 2019/2022 financial year.

“In terms of the monies staked or turnover, last financial year Ugandans staked Shs 2.4 trillion. That was the total amount. In this first half of the current financial year, we have a total of Shs2.1 trillion. We are seeing an increase in turnover and also a tax increase. This is a result of our dedicated compliance activities with URA,” – he said.

Denis Ngabirano – CEO NGLRB

However, Mr. Denis Ngabirano kept the money that betting companies paid out for winning wagers, undisclosed.

With 45 betting establishments nationwide, the gaming and betting sector has witnessed a notable surge in the number of high rollers, particularly in light of the rise in sports viewing over the past decade, and the adoption of online betting options.

During the previous financial year, betting in Uganda earned the government Shs75 billion in taxes. This represented a 49.6% increase in the tax collected the year prior, which stood at Shs35.2 billion. The year before that generated Shs19 billion for the Ugandan government in betting tax revenue.

In Uganda, the government collects 30% of the tax on the promoter’s turnover, while bet winners are required to pay a 15% withholding tax, alongside a 20% tax levied on the promoter’s winning ticket.


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