Parliament wants sports betting banned during day

This file photo shows a man with his child bets on football games at sports betting shop in Kampala, Uganda.  PHOTO/ AFP

Lawmakers on the Committee on Finance have suggested that government considers banning sports betting during the day as a means of encouraging productivity and creativity among the population.
Mr Enos Asiimwe (Kabula County) yesterday during while interfacing with the Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board (LGRB) suggested that the activity be only permitted 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 10am,” Mr Asiimwe said.
In response, the acting chief executive officer of LGRB, Mr Denis Ngabirano, 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.

The MPs advised the betting regulator to seek expertise on digital related matters from the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC).
But some MPs opposed the proposal. Ms Jane Pacutho, the Woman MP for Pakwach District, expressed fear that in case betting time is change, some men would not have time for their families after work.
“You are going to create domestic violence, people starting to do things from 7pm up to 2am. How?” Ms Pacutho 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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