Betting ban targets foreign companies – Kasaija

The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia kasaija has indicated that the proposed ban on the betting sector targets foreign companies that had dominated the sector but end up repatriating the profits they make back to their home counties.

Speaking at Imperial Royale Hotel during  the launch of a report by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Kasaija  said that government will not renew licences of the foreign companies by the end of the year 2019.

“The licences (for foreign owned companies) that are running will continue but when they expire, they will not be renewed and no new ones will be issued, because we have discovered so much of our money is being exported through that gaming thing, it ends up taking our scarce foreign exchange which we earn through difficult circumstances,” Kasaija said.

This follows media reports quoting the State Minister of Finance (Planning) David Bahati as saying that President Yoweri Museveni had issued a directive to ban all sports betting companies.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Bahati confirmed the reports, telling the House that the President wants more stringent controls on the sector.

Local betting companies will be protected, Bahati said, but with restricted areas of operation in response to a public outcry.

A 2015 Economic Policy Research Centre  (EPRC) baseline study on socio-economic effects of gambling in Kampala City revealed that one in every four adults amounting to 24.3% engaged in gambling.

Of the gambling population, 45.6% were male youths engaging in mostling sports betting as a gambling activity.

The report however revealed that 73.2% of those engaging in gambling activities did so to generate income rather than derived pleasure from it as a leisure activity.