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We will not ban sports betting- Finance Minister Matia Kasaija

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The Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MFPED) Matia Kasaija has said government does not intend to ban betting and gambling companies in the country as reported days ago in the local and regional media.

Recent media reports said President Museveni had directed that no new sports betting licences should be issued or the existing ones renewed.

“We are not banning betting companies, what we are saying this activities should be limited to Ugandans. We have discovered that so much of our money is being exported through gaming business affecting country’s economy which I think should be left for Ugandans who will later invest here,” Kasaija said on Tuesday at his offices.

He said the country’s hard earned foreign exchange from coffee, and other activities is taken to develop other countries leaving Uganda in poverty and betting machines.

The minister called on the youth to work first before going for gambling, adding that without working, they will not be able to get money to sustain their living.

Kasaijja has said government is set to close its doors to giving licences to new foreign gaming companies or renewing the ongoing licenses upon expiry.

Kasaijja said he will soon release a statement directing national gaming board, a body responsible for regulating betting companies to stop from issuing new licenses foreign companies and renewing them after the expire.

Responding to the concerns of Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanya in Parliament on Tuesday, State minister for Finance David Bahati said Museveni has directed officials to review the licensing of betting and gambling companies.

MP Ssewanyana said betting and gambling companies pay taxes in billions of shillings on top of employing Ugandans.

However, Minister Bahati said most of the money from betting is being taken outside the country, which calls for the need to licence local companies so that the money generated is kept within the country.

He said some students have spent schools fees money on betting, which calls for the tightening of the regulations governing the industry.

Bahaiti said Museveni will address the matter in the days ahead.

By 2018, National gaming board had regulated 40 betting companies, one pool bet, 20 casino and 15 slot machines operating in various town councils, municipalities and cities across the Country.

According to Section 39 of the Lotteries and Gaming Act, the minister of finance may by regulations prescribe minimum capital requirements for licensees under the Act and guide as the law states.

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