The government of Uganda has announced that sports betting is now banned in the country, saying that "sports betting companies have diverted the attention of the youth from hard work" and causes cash to flow out of the country.
President Museveni of Uganda has issued a directive ordering the permanent cessation of the issuance of new licences to sports betting firms. The renewal of permits to existing betting companies will also no longer be allowed.
According to the state, sports betting has fostered laziness among the youth and they have been distracted from seeking gainful activity.
"We have received a directive from President Museveni to stop the licensing of sports betting, gaming and gambling companies. The president has directed the board, which regulates those entities, accordingly. From now on, no new companies will be licensed. In the case of companies that are already registered, there will be no renewal of their licences when they expire," David Bahati, Uganda's State Minister of Finance, revealed on Sunday during a church service in Rugarama Hill in the town of Kabale.
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Many betting companies will suffer massive losses. This includes the betting powerhouse SportPesa, which moved to Uganda in 2017 in the hope of making that country another East African betting hub. The same goes for BetLion, which has gained a substantial market share in Uganda since entering that market early this year through sports sponsorship.
Speaking on wealth creation and the value that such companies add to Uganda, President Museveni said the following on Twitter:
He linked this to the betting culture in Uganda, saying, "It is for this reason that we are banning the registration of new fully owned foreign betting companies, while the old ones will not have their licences renewed. All they do is accumulate money from Ugandans, then ship it out of the country."