Youth MPs divided over betting ban

President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to ban sports betting in the country has left Youth MPs divided with some calling for a Parliamentary debate on the matter before the directive is enforced.

While National Female Youth MP Anna Adeke Ebaju welcomed the directive, her Western counterpart Mwine Mpaka cast fears that the move is going to worsen the unemployment problem.

To Adeke, betting activities have been abused by the young people yet at the same time, betting companies are taking so much from young people.

“We may realize that young people make irrational decisions and so, we have to put this industry within the confines where we can protect our young people who aren’t knowledgeable about betting and how much they can lose,” Adeke said.

Mpaka however argues that the sector employees a number of youths thus any stop on licensing betting companies will render many youths jobless.

“We don’t think a drastic decision is a solution much as you might have your reasons, you can’t close this kind of employment,” Mpaka said.

“Betting companies sponsor football clubs, employ young people, so I think they should bring it to Parliament we debate it extensively without them taking drastic decisions. We can regulate the time these people operate, the locations but we can’t just wake up and close the thing that is going to cause this kind of unemployment,” he added.

The Daily Monitor on Monday reported that President Museveni had ordered the Ministry of Finance not to license new sports betting company in the country as well as not to renew licenses for the existing companies.

According to the report, Museveni’s directive was premised on information that sports betting companies have diverted the attention of youth from hard work.