Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Sports Betting In Uganda

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People placing bets at a bookmaker in Uganda. Sports betting is the most popular form of gambling in Uganda.

Sports betting in Uganda

Uganda is a country in Central Africa with a population of around 40 million. Gambling is largely under regulated in the country, although some progress is being made in this field. The two major pieces of legislation controlling betting, wagering and other forms of gambling in the country were the National Lotteries Act of 1967*, the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act of 1968*.

These were merged and streamlined in the Lotteries and Gaming Bill in 2013.

A legal body responsible for overseeing and controlling the gaming sector and issuing licenses to operators, the National Lotteries and Gaming Board was also established by the act.

As in many of the poor African developing countries, in Uganda there are two major, and quite contradicting aspects of gambling.

Firstly, the under regulated nature of the industry appeals to operators and grows the player pools accordingly, as the relatively low market entry costs allows providers to broaden the scope of their operations in the country. This, of course means healthy streams of revenue for the government – in the fiscal year 2013/2014 the government collected taxes from the gaming sector of 11,3 billion shillings* (around USD 3,1 million – which is quite good for a country where the average hourly wage was 1121 shillings, around 30 cents).

On the other hand, there are the social issues related to under regulated gambling, namely the spread of problem gambling and the further impoverishment of the lowest economic classes, who are, according to various studies the most vulnerable to the financial effects of excessive gambling. In fact, in 2012 gambling was named the “new driver of chronic poverty” in the country.

In 2013, the National Lotteries Board made a move to tighten their control over the gambling industry by doubling betting company license fees to nearly $3,500 and prohibiting such firms from from setting up shops near public facilities including churches, markets, and government offices. However, these measures didn’t seem to quite solve the problem, so the authorities of Uganda are yet to strike a balance between the social harms and tax benefits of gambling.

The government issues licenses to online operators too, at least the section about gaming software licenses in the regulation suggests, that these providers fall within the scope of the Bill as well. That being said, major, foreign providers are accessible as well.

Betting is by far the most popular form of gambling in Uganda and although, because of the low internet penetration the majority of bets are being placed at land based betting shops, online platforms are available as well.

 

*Source: National Lotteries Act of 1967

*Source: Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act of 1968

*Source: Lotteries and Gaming Bill – 2013

*Source: Government Moves to Streamline Gaming activities in the Country

 

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Uganda

 

Online casino gambling in Uganda: legal, license required

 

 

Land based casinos can receive licenses from the National Lotteries and Gaming Board. Although perfectly legal, casino gambling is not the most popular for of gambling in Uganda, as its associated with a lavish lifestyle which not many in the poor African country can afford. There are only a few brick and mortar casinos in the capitol, Kampala.

Although the government does issue licenses to online casinos, Uganda is not an attractive market for online casinos. Nevertheless, people are accepted on the majority of online casinos.

 

 

 

Bingo in Uganda

 

Online Bingo in Uganda: legal, requires a license

 

Licenses for operating a Bingo hall are issued by the National Lotteries and Gaming Board as well and these too are overseen and controlled by the Lotteries and Gaming Bill of 2013. Two of the largest land based casinos in Kampala, Simba and Mayfair offer Bingo games to their players.

There is no trace of an Uganda based online Bingo site, but Ugandans are free to play on foreign licensed platforms.

 

 

Poker in Uganda

 

Online Poker in Uganda: not regulated

 

Land based Poker is legal and licensed by the National Lotteries and Gaming Board. Most major casinos have Poker tables offering classic Poker games and there are some separate Poker clubs as well in the capitol, Kampala.

There are no Uganda based online Poker platforms, but players from Uganda are free to register and play at foreign sites, although the authorities do issue licenses for Poker operators.

 

 

Sports Betting in Uganda

 

Online sports Betting in Uganda: legal, license required

 

Sport betting is by far the most popular form of gambling in Uganda, just like in most of the poor African developing countries. Betting on domestic and international sporting events is almost a sort of national pastime.

Due to the very low internet penetration (an estimated 23% on June 30, 2014*) most of the bets are placed with land based operators, but internet betting and mobile betting is gaining more and more ground. The number of smartphones is relatively low, but features phones are used by an estimated 200 million people over the continent. No wonder, Offside Gaming, in partnership with the African gaming operator Worldstar Betting launched a betting platform optimised for the Opera – Mini browser in 2014 for the African market.

Although online betting platforms are being licensed in Uganda, and unlicensed firms are technically illegal, players are accepted on foreign based sites as well.

The state does not strictly enforces the regulation and unlicensed operators are not blocked and players are not prosecuted.

 

 

*Source: InternetWorldStats.com – Africa- Uganda

 

 

Lottery in Uganda

 

Online lottery in Uganda: legal, state monopoly, no online platform

 

Lottery in Uganda is a state monopoly – lotteries are not mentioned in the section of the Lotteries and Gaming Bill describing the types of games being licensed. The National Lottery was established in 2004 November in its current form. Before that time, lotteries had a very bad reputation – they were perceived as a kind of scam.

The government put great effort into restoring public confidence. Since 2004 the lottery has gained great popularity in Uganda. There is currently no platform available to play the Uganda National Lottery online.

Although the lottery is technically a state monopoly in Uganda, foreign platforms are not blocked and residents are able to purchase lottery tickets on these sites.

 

 

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Uganda

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Uganda: legal, requires a licence

 

Bitcoin penetration in Uganda is almost non existent and therefore the laws don’t specifically mention anything about Bitcoin casinos. That being said, we can assume, that they are in the same category with all other sorts of online casinos, legally. People are accepted on foreign platforms too, tho.

 

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Uganda

 

Uganda does issue licenses to online operators – mostly bookmaker platforms, as sports betting is by far the most popular form of gambling in the country. And many of the major foreign online gambling sites accept players from Uganda.

The following websites accept players from Uganda.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Uganda

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BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Uganda

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32 Red casino accepting players from Uganda

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Uganda

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Black Lotus casino accepting players from Uganda

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015 October 13

 

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling & Sports Betting In Uganda
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling & Sports Betting In Uganda
Description
An overview of the popularity and the legal status of gambling, online gambling and sports betting in Uganda.
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2 Responses

  1. Jaime says:

    Hi Simon do u have a list of the registered sports betting companies in Uganda and the betting stats.

    Lovely article
    Jaime

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