President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has banned sports betting in the country, leaving the more than 100-billion-shilling business in limbo with existing companies now seeking new ventures.
Mr. Museveni is said to have directed the relevant authorities not to issue any license to any new betting company seeking to enter Uganda and also not to renew the existing licenses upon expiry.
According to a statement from the Minister of State for Finance, David Bahati, the president feels that betting has promoted laxity among the youth in Uganda. The minister said that there will be no renewal for betting companies whose license will expire.
The Ugandan government has blamed sports betting companies for being selfish and using the millions they get from Ugandans to enrich themselves.
The debate has now shifted to Kenya with some Kenyans calling on the government to follow suit and ban the same in Kenya. Kenya has more than 20 betting companies with one of the largest companies, SportPesa, controlling over 47 billion shillings of the total market value.
Unlike in Uganda, in Kenya, most sports betting companies have been involved in supporting talent including sponsoring of local teams. The companies also pay taxes to the government though they have been blamed for paying too little compared to the millions they rake in.
The ban in Uganda has now hit hard on SportPesa which set shop in the country with the aim of tapping into the multi-billion industry in Uganda.