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MPs propose move to ban gambling, sports betting during day

Members of Parliament sitting on the Parliamentary Committee on Finance tabled a motion asking government to ban sports betting during the day as a means of encouraging productivity and creativity among the population.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Members of Parliament sitting on the Parliamentary Committee on Finance tabled a motion asking government to ban sports betting during the day as a means of encouraging productivity and creativity among the population.

The proposal was on Tuesday fronted by Kabula County MP Mr. Asiimwe Enos saying the betting and casino shops should be allowed to work only after working hours.

“Why don’t you initiate the changes in the regulations? We can change the time to 5pm, after working hours, to make youth more productive because you find people engaged in gaming as early as 10 am,” Mr. Asiimwe said while interacting with the Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board (LGRB).

In response, Mr. Denis Ngabirano, the LGRB acting chief executive officer welcomed the suggestion, adding that they are planning a raft of regulations to address challenges affecting the sector. 

“We have quite a number of amendments and new regulations we are putting in place and time is one of the issues that we want to amend. However, as you realise, most gaming activities are migrating online, actually, 60 percent of the gaming activities are online, so basically, the time will affect majorly casinos,” Mr Ngabirano said.

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The MPs however advised Ngabirano and the board he heads to seek expertise on digital-related matters from the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) if they’re to work in harmony with the recommended regulations.

However, some MPs opposed the proposal saying moving betting activities to evening and night hours would trigger domestic violence in homes due to husbands neglecting families to go for betting.

“You are going to create domestic violence, people starting to do things from 7pm up to 2am. How?,” Pakwach Woman MP Jane Pachuto wondered.

 The gaming regulator, who was presenting their policy statement before the same committee, made a budgetary request of Shs2 billion to introduce an electric monitoring system that will, among others, close gaps exploited by illicit gamblers.

According to Mr Ngabirano, once approved, the system will save revenue losses incurred through the illegal practice and thus boost revenue of the country.
“This system is important to monitor significant events that happen on gaming systems and machines, this system is going to be interfaced with every gaming software and it will enable the Board to monitor tax collection, ensure we stop under age gaming, and it has an anti-money laundering module to report suspicious transactions,” he said.


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