Lawmakers in Uganda have been working on policies that would only allow sportsbooks to operate part-time. This would mean that sportsbooks would only be able to run after 5 pm every day and close around 2 am the next morning. This would effectively ban daytime sports betting.
Lawmaker Enos Asiimwe made the suggestion to cut down betting hours to the Lotteries and Gambling Regulatory Board. Asiimwe based the proposal on the fact that less gambling time would mean more time to invoke productivity. He believes that some people start betting around 10 am each morning.
These changes would result in severe consequences for an essential Ugandan industry as bettors around the globe operate at different hours.
Jane Pacutho, an opposing lawmaker, pointed out apparent flaws in the plan. That considers that limiting hours does not limit interest but only condenses it. In these circumstances, bettors might neglect their families after 5 pm in favour of placing wagers.
Uganda is in a precarious position, being seven hours ahead of New York and seven hours behind Australia. This means that if the LGRB makes the suggested changes to betting hours, betting on international sports would be impossible in many instances. Betting in advance often results in lower payouts.
The regulator, however, has not rejected the idea. They presented the hours’ limitation as part of its budget plan to the Committee of Finance.
The plan lays out a request by the LGRB for $567 000 to implement electronic enforcement in monitoring systems that would safeguard the lawmakers’ interests. Denis Ngabirano, the CEO of the LGRB, has not specified the types of systems that would be used. However, he knows that capital investment will be necessary.
Ngabirano stated that the regulator is seriously considering the time limit issue. He hopes the new rules will tidy up the gambling industry in Uganda. The regulator wants to decrease the operation of illegal gambling sectors alongside the creation of these new regulations.
Sports Betting Continues to Grow in Uganda
Uganda has an adverse history with gambling. Before these reported regulations began gaining traction, the country wanted to completely ban sports and online betting. However, these plans were halted, knowing how difficult it would be to enforce when so many alternative gambling platforms and channels exist.
Furthermore, to reduce gambling, the government wanted to implement a 35% tax on gaming operators’ revenues in 2017. These plans also fell through in response to significant industry backlash.
The tax rate might be easier to swallow now as sports betting activity in the country continues to grow steadily. However, these attempts at throttling the industry have deterred major international gambling companies, such as 888 Holdings, from investing in the African sector.