Gambling rates are on the increase in Uganda, with technology playing a major role in the rise in such activities in the country.
The Ugandan government hasn’t been the friendliest to gambling- President Yoweri Museveni famously imposed a ban on the registration of new foreign betting companies in 2019- but the industry continues to experience consistent growth.
Despite the open opposition from high-profile figures, sports betting remains legal in Uganda, with the main gambling law being the Lottery and Gaming Act of 2016.
The Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board (LGRB) is the body in charge of overseeing the industry. Part of their responsibilities includes issuing betting licenses and setting guidelines for betting operations and services.
Betting companies in Uganda currently pay 35% of their gross gaming revenue as tax to the Uganda Revenue Authority, which is amongst the highest betting tax rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
Notwithstanding the relatively hostile atmosphere, betting continues to thrive in Uganda.
Some operators have had to step down the scope of their services, but that has presented an opportunity for other companies to take advantage of the budding market.
With a population of just over 46 million people, Uganda remains a very attractive spot for betting companies around the world.
The chronology of sports betting in Uganda is very similar to that of their neighbors, Kenya and Tanzania; and many other African countries.
At the initial phase, betting was predominantly done in betting houses, but that has since given way to online sports betting, especially mobile betting.
Propelled by the increasing number of mobile phone users in Uganda, and improving internet accessibility, online sports betting has experienced a sharp surge in the last few years.
A recent study showed that almost half of the male youth population between 18 and 30 years old have been involved in one form of gambling or the other.
As of January 2021, there were an estimated 28.01 mobile connections in Uganda, which represents a 4% increase from the same period in the preceding year.
Also, the number of internet users also grew by 14% to 12.16 million between January 2020 and January 2021.
These rates are hardly spectacular, but the numbers have been steadily on the rise in the last few years, and this has fuelled the growth of online sports betting in the country.
Betting operators in Uganda have quickly acted on this trend and worked on the quality of their online services. The focus has now shifted away from brick-and-mortar betting houses to betting apps!
It’s a bit of a win-win for the operators, as they get to save money that would have otherwise been spent on setting up physical houses, and simultaneously gain more revenue from the rising rates of online sports betting.
The Ugandan betting industry isn’t as huge as that in Kenya, which has numerous betting sites, but it is definitely amongst the top ten markets in Africa.
South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya are generally considered as the biggest gambling nations in sub-Saharan Africa, but Uganda is in the second tier of countries, along with the likes of Ghana and Tanzania.
With a bit more love from Ugandan authorities, the industry will give some of the regional superpowers a good run for their money.