Uganda has seen a growth within its economy in recent years and the capital, Kampala, has benefitted most from this boost. Sports betting has since become a thriving industry, with football being the most popular sport on offer.
As in any country, gambling seems to be popular among the poorest communities and Uganda is no different.
Gambling addiction has become quite widespread in the country, with already poor people becoming hooked on sports betting as they try to earn a little extra money on top of their measly income.
To target this problem, the government have introduced stringent betting laws.
Popular Local Bookies
There are several licensed bookmakers within Uganda, as well as many foreign betting companies who have taken advantage of pretty soft regulations to provide online betting services.
However, the online betting industry in Uganda isn’t that lucrative and land-based operators take the lion’s share of custom.
The properly regulated and licenced companies are the ones who have actual betting shops, and these will remain all the time the betting industry is booming.
Here, we look at three popular companies who offer fantastic services and all accept mobile phone depositing/withdrawal to make betting a lot easier for customers.
Worldstar is a betting company with 64 shops in Uganda, as well as premises around Europe and websites in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
They offer a first-class service to gamblers regardless of the amount of money they’re staking, with markets available for many sports.
Elitebet Uganda is a betting company who specialise in football betting, offering a simple service for people looking to bet on their favourite teams or leagues from across Europe.
Sports Betting Africa is the number one betting company in Uganda. Football is the most popular sport on offer but there are markets available for several other sports, as well as other games such as virtual football. In fact, they pride themselves on the fact they offer over eighty ways to play.
Ugandan Betting Laws
The first gambling laws in Uganda were introduced during the 1960’s, with the National Lotteries Act 1967 and the Gaming and Pool Betting Act 1968.
These acts weren’t exactly enforced and didn’t prevent the many illegal operators setting up shop. The illegal operators were therefore not regulated at all, could basically do what they wanted, and the government didn’t earn any tax on these operations, which was a loss to the economy.
Ugandan gambling laws were updated with the Lottery and Gaming Bill of 2013. This new bill helped establish a new regulatory board that would oversee all gambling activity in the country.
In addition to this new board, licence costs were increased, and more stringent regulations would be enforced as a way of eliminating illegal betting operations.
The laws were updated again, with The Lotteries and Gaming Act 2016.
This act makes it illegal for anyone under the age of twenty-five to gamble, and gambling should only be done during certain hours of the day (between 10am – 8pm). Therefore, there is no provision for online gambling within this act.
Another law the regulatory board brought in was that betting premises were not allowed to be operated near certain buildings, such as churches and schools.
In 2017, a 15% tax on winnings was introduced on top of the 30% income tax which was already in place. There have been several complaints regarding this and the government have discussed lowering this figure.
Even though there is a national betting act which controls gambling throughout the countries, local municipalities can still ban local betting operations if they choose to. Some councils have banned gambling due to betting-related violence and as a way of preventing addiction.
Popular Competitions to Bet on in Uganda
Although there is a Ugandan football league, with the Premier League being the top division, most people like to bet on the top European football leagues.
Looking at the markets offered by the biggest betting companies in the country shows that the English, Spanish, Italian, French, and German leagues are the most popular competitions among the Ugandan punters.
Markets for all divisions within the league and all cup competitions from these countries are offered.
Most operators also offer markets on international football as well as top European club competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.