The Independent (Kampala)

Uganda: Betting Company to Run Posta Services

Posta Uganda and sports betting company Gaming International make a formidable service partnership

Posta Uganda's services will soon be available at the sports betting outlet near you.

The government-owned postal services agency has struck a partnership with the sports betting company Gaming International for joint management of its services, including the money transfer service Posta Cash.

Gaming international Chief Executive Officer Simon Peter Mpanga confirmed the partnership and said it was an opportunity for the two companies to leverage on each other's strengths and establish a stronger countrywide sales network at which the products of both companies will be sold side-by-side.

It is not clear when the partnership will be signed, but The Independent has learnt that the two companies were in the process of rebranding to give a joint identity to the new operation.

"The service is owned by Posta Uganda and will be availed in Gaming International service points on mutual terms. There is no cost to Posta Uganda," Posta Uganda Business Development Manager David Mulobole said. "The official date will be communicated to the public at the opportune time."

Mulobole said the partnership would enable Posta Uganda to avail its services, which include postal, financial, courier and logistical solutions, to a wider spectrum of customers through agreed service points of Gaming International and established Posta Uganda outlets. Vice versa, Gaming International's own services, which include money transfer (E-Gaming) and online gambling will be provided at Posta outlets.

He said when a customer sends money from a Posta Uganda outlet, the recipient will have the flexibility to receive the funds at their nearest Posta Uganda or Gaming International outlet.

"We decided to partner with Gaming International and share the commission because they have the software to handle agent business through PostaCash," Posta Uganda Financial Manager Justine Senoga said.

Senoga did not explain details of the commission they would share with Gaming International, or any of the other terms of the partnership, but Posta Uganda's website indicates domestic PostaCash rates as 5% of the amount sent plus a Shs 1,000 postage fee.

Posta Uganda has one of the most extensive and diversified communication networks in Uganda, with over 300 post offices in 30 major towns in Uganda and over 70,000 active mail boxes. Through the Universal postal Union, it delivers to over 700,000 mail boxes worldwide. Its range of services includes money transfer, safe deposits, direct mail, easy mail, internet services, public transport, Expedited Mail Service (EMS) and agency services for telecoms.

Gaming International is an international entertainment company, based in the UK.

While best known for networked sports betting in Uganda, which is its specialty, the company also offers virtual games, internet services and E-Gaming Mobile Money. Gaming International covers the whole of East Africa, operating services in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Its over 2,200 offices cover an area of 1.8 million square kilometers with a combined population of about 132 million.

The company is looking for further expansion. Mpanga said Gaming International was looking for even bigger partnerships.

"We are also looking to work with MTN as many people are opening mobile money accounts at E-Gaming," he said.

But can any company offer money transfer services?

While there is still no comprehensive framework to regulate telecom-based money transfer, Bank of Uganda's Assistant Communications Manager Christine Alupo told The Independent that a company, whether local or international, must be licensed and registered under the Foreign Exchange Act to be allowed to offer money transfer services.

"If the company wants to carry out money transfers in the manner that Western Union or Money Gram do, they need to be licensed under the Foreign Exchange Act," Alupo said in an email.

However this may not be necessary for Gaming International as the partnership will allow it to operate under Posta Uganda's license, acquired under Posta Cash since 2009, according to the company's Public Relations Officer Frank Kafeero.

This is not Posta Uganda's first such service partnership. In February 2010, the company partnered with Cash For Africa, an electronic funds transfer service, to enable customers to instantly send and receive money inside Uganda.

In 2010 Posta Uganda entered a partnership with Uganda Telecom to make M-Sente money transfer services available through its over 300 postal offices countrywide.

Mulobore said those partnerships were also still going on.

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