By Alice Lubwama
The finance committee of parliament wants Government to provide sufficient funds to the national lotteries and gaming board to be able to acquire a monitoring system for the gambling business in the country.
The chairperson of the finance committee of parliament Henry Musasizi note that the board requires additional 8 billion shillings to able to monitor the illicit gambling currently going on in the country.
“There is a lot of illicit gambling taking place, there areas of laxity and gaps in enforcement and also areas of monitoring which needs to be strengthened and all this requires funding.” He said
Musasizi also say that if the lotteries board acquires a monitoring system, it will be able to bring revenue to the country in excess of 75 billion shillings per annum.
“The board was given a target of 45 billion shillings every financial year but by 31st of December last year, it had already collected over 22 billion shillings.” Added the legislator. Musasizi is optimistic that if this board is given more funds to
operate, it would hit its target of 45 billion shillings by the end of
this financial year 2018/2019.
On regulation of the gaming in the country, the mp said that they want Government to restrict foreign companies from the gambling business and encourage domestic companies to participate so that the country can earn something from this industry.
“If you’re a fully foreign owned company why should you engage in gambling in this country, because at the end of the day the money you’re getting you will take it somewhere else.” Musasizi wondered.
The lawmaker also said that if the country is to achieve the desired objectives of gaming without causing adverse effects to the society it should be heavily regulated.
“We cannot close down gaming completely but can we ensure that we protect the gamblers from the adverse effects ,for resistance the young people who are getting addicted to gambling which is disastrous to the country.”
The National Gaming Board is mandated to issue licenses for Lotteries, Casinos, Gaming and Betting in Uganda.
The board is also mandated to License, Supervise, Enforce and resolve disputes. It also has powers to conduct investigation, examination, inspection and issue guidelines, directives or instructions for the proper management of the industry.
Gambling is extremely popular among young Ugandans, with recent statistics indicating that more than 70 percent of Ugandans under 30 are engaged in various forms of gambling.
Gamblers in Uganda have access to a total of over 400 betting websites, both local and international operators.
According to the lotteries and gaming act 2016 only individuals over 25 years of age are eligible to participate in gambling.