Uganda: Government Bans Sports Betting

Youth look at football fixtures at a sports betting centre in Arua District recently. Several students in Nebbi District have resorted to sports betting.
21 January 2019

President Museveni has ordered that no new sports betting company should be licensed to operate in Uganda and licenses for the existing companies should not be renewed.

The Minister of State for Finance in charge of Planning, Mr David Bahati, revealed this yesterday when he said the President gave the directive because sports betting companies have diverted the attention of youth from hard work.

“We have received a directive from President Museveni to stop licensing sports betting, gaming and gambling companies. The President has now directed the board which has been regulating them…. From now onwards, no new companies are going to be licensed. Those which are already registered, no renewal of licences when they expire,” Mr Bahati told a church congregation at Rugarama Hill in Kabale Town yesterday.

He was speaking at the closure of a four-day conference where he represented the President as chief guest. The conference was organised by Kigezi Diocese.

Mr Bahati said church leaders who have been against sports betting can now praise the Lord because their prayers have been answered.

The Ministry of Finance spokesman, Mr Jim Mugunga, said he was not aware of the directive but added that since it was communicated by a minister, he cannot doubt it.

“I don’t know but since it was said by a minister, quote him. That’s good news,” Mr Mugunga said.

Mr Bahati also said Mr Museveni has also promised to table the Bill on qualifications of religious leaders before Cabinet for discussion and later consult the clergy.

In his speech read for him by Mr Bahati, the President commended Anglican Kigezi Diocese Bishop George Bagamuhunda and his Catholic counterpart of Kabale Diocese, Rt Rev Callist Rubaramira, for championing unity among Christians in Kigezi region.

“We thank Bishop Bagamuhunda for being transparent while handling church affairs, besides being developmental and we urge all Christians and church leaders to be faithful and trustworthy,” Mr Bahati said.

Mr Museveni offered Shs50m towards the construction of Kigezi Diocese women building.

Mr Bahati donated 500 bags of cement towards the construction of the women’s centre. A total of Shs138m was raised in cash and pledges and 1,237 bags of cement.

The Kampala team led by former state minister for privatization Mr Manzi Tumubweine raised Shs45m while the 19 archdeaconries of Kigezi Diocese contributed Shs43m.

The brethren conference coincided with the thanks giving ceremony of Bishop Bagamuhunda as he celebrated five years of clerical service.

The diocesan head of laity Mr Johnson Baryantuma Munono said in the five years, Bishop Bagamuhunda has seen baptism of

28,705 children and confirmation of 22,932 youths into the Anglican faith and wedded 3,955 couples. He praised the bishop for overseeing construction of 39 churches, 101 protected water springs, 563 water community water harvesting tanks of 4000-litre capacity, Bishop’s House at Shs800m, Jubilee Hostel at Shs830m, buying cars for all archdeaconries, registering and acquiring land titles for all the church land in Kigezi Diocese among other achievements.

Retired archbishop of Church of Uganda Henry Luke Orombi preached attended and thanked the government for being a faithful partner with the church.

“Join me to thank president Museveni for his usual support to the church because he is there for us every time he is invited to church functions,” he said.

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