The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has effectively outlawed gambling in the country after a directive issued at the weekend.
The directive requires his government to stop the issue of new gambling licences or the renewal of existing licences, and according to comments made by Finance Minister David Bahati, who was speaking at a religious conference, all betting industry companies would be affected.
In explaining the decision, Bahati said that the directive follows the expression of concern from a number of people, including religious leaders, about the impact of betting on young people. According to Bahati, young Ugandans were becoming addicted to gambling, and that the activity had led to a reduction in productivity among the young, exacerbating the poverty of many families.
But despite the widely reported directive, comments made by the chairperson of National Gaming Board Uganda, Manzi Tumubweine, suggest he has not yet been notified:
“I can’t comment on what I don’t know. They say they want to ban full betters, I don’t know how they are going to do it. As soon as I get the policy, you can call me and I comment about it. I know it, but I don’t want to comment on it because I have my views about it.”
Gambling is Uganda is currently regulated by the National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act. The industry includes lotteries, casinos and a range of gaming and pool betting, run by around 2,000 operators.
Image from 123RF.