Image Credit: Uganda Media Centre
The Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development in collaboration with various stakeholders is progressively establishing a strong regulatory framework to address the economic, financial and social risks that resulted from the unregulated gaming activities taking place in the country.
Speaking at a press conference at Media Center, Manzi Tumubweinee the Chairman National Lotteries Board noted that although the gaming industry has had a positive impact on the economy by providing business/employment opportunities and making the industry one of the most growing government sources there is a need for a strong regulatory framework to protect society from harmful effects of gambling while at the same time provide an opportunity for others to benefit from the industrial positives.
Gambling in Uganda is a legal activity authorized and regulated under The National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act. It mainly takes the following form: lotteries, casinos and gaming and pool betting. Over 2000 active operators have been engaged in various gambling modes and techniques earning government over 11.3 billion shillings in the FY2013/2014.
Under the draft law approved by cabinet, an autonomous body shall be mandated to regulate the industry. “The new law aims at limiting the incidence of illegal gambling, unwarranted visibility of gambling activities which sometimes leads to involuntary gambling,” explained Tumubweinee. A number of negative vices such as underage gambling, addiction, depletion of personal savings and finances, crimes such as money laundering, match fixing and petty thieving have been attributed to the gaming industry.
The new law will also require all operators of gaming and pool betting to hold three licenses: promoter license for promoters of gaming and pool in Uganda, principal agents license for a principal agent in the Uganda of gaming and pools promoted outside Uganda, agents license/branch license for an agent/branch of promoter of gaming and pool within or outside Uganda.
A casino promoter, principal agent and agent will have to pay 10 million shillings for a license, a gaming and pool betting operator, promoter and principal agent will pay 5 million shillings while a gaming and pool betting agent and branch of promoter or principal agent will have to pay one million shillings for a license. 200 million shillings will also be paid to the National Lotteries Board as bond before getting a license.
Tumubweinee says the 200 million shillings will be used to pay taxes in case the gaming companies fail to pay their taxes or pay gaming winners. He also added a framework will be put in place to restrict the importation of gambling equipment in the country and standardization of all equipment.