National youth council applauds Government for banning betting

By Deo Wasswa
National youth council has commended government move to ban foreign sports betting companies in the country saying that it will give youth enough time to concentrate on their jobs and also to engage in other income generating activities.

According to Lilian Abel, the chairperson of National Youth Council, betting is affecting very many young people negatively in that even the little money they get they end up investing it in betting.

She noted that what the government and leaders should look at is engaging young people in productive activities that can produce money in their hands other than taking it away. ‘’ we don’t see how betting is changing the lives of young people and also supporting them in terms of raising finances’’ Lilian added.

She added that the government should have banned betting on Monday, but given that it has come out, it should not change its decision on the matter. “The government’s efforts should focus on creating opportunities for many youths that are likely to lose their jobs in this sector.” She said.

On Sunday 20th January 2019, the state minister for finance Mr. David Bahati announced that president Museveni had ordered the government not to register new sports betting company or renew licenses for the existing companies upon on expiry.

Information from national gambling board indicates that the government issued licenses to 40 general betting companies, 20 casinos, and 15 slot machines last year.

According to the research done by Economic policy research center in 2014 in Kampala found that the majority of Kampala residents 73.3% engage in gambling as source of livelihood as oppose to leisure.

Many Ugandan youth admit they are addicted to sports betting

Several youths in Kampala have acknowledged their addiction to sports betting, stating that their attempts to quit have been in vain.

Most of the people URN spoke too around Kampala state that although they are aware of the fact that gambling is bad, they are addicted to the game and always have a hope of winning despite losing frequently.

Sam Osuret, a security guard says he started betting two years ago when he placed a bet of 100,000 shillings in a premier league game. He won 700,000 shillings in what he described as his lucky day.

Ever since that major win, he has never left betting with the hope of winning more and better like other people have done.

Now Osuret states that although he has been winning, he has invested at least 10,000 shillings weekly but rarely reaps out of this.

Osuret notes that he does not encourage people to bet stating that it is majorly the leaders to save the youths from putting all their money in betting.

Stephen Semakula, a boda boda rider in Ntinda won 9 million shillings after putting in 15,000 from Gal sports betting in May this year. He says that when he won the money, he could not believe it until when he handled the money.

Semakula says he used the money for starting up a poultry business. He says he was inspired to start betting when his friend won 30 million shillings in just one bet. Semakula says unlike other people, he only bets with the little money that he has and does not consider it as a job.

Ssemakula calls upon the Government to save the youths with employment since all of them now take on betting as work, adding that as long as he is not working, his mind is on betting.

He says one major weakness is that many people after winning get back to betting with the same money and end up losing it.

Ngobi Farouk, a supporter of the English Premier League side, Arsenal, states that he only bets because he likes football. According to him, although he has been putting a minimum of 500 shillings and maximum of 3000 shillings for bets, the greatest amount he has won is 60,000 shillings.

He states that he has continued betting mostly because he is a footballer and fan who always hopes his prediction is exact. He says that he tried to quit betting two months ago but failed.

Another youth who started betting three years ago and preferred to remain anonymous stated that although winning is luck, many people lose more than they win.To him betting is an hobby which should not cause you to desire more income out of it.

According to the Uganda Lotteries and Gamings Board, Ugandans spend over 150 billion shillings in Casinos, slot machines, lotteries and betting annually.Ugandan also collects 30 billion shillings in taxes from the games and lotteries companies.