GAMING: Sports Betting, Gambling on the Rise in Uganda 

Betting can be referred to as the action of gambling money on the outcome of a football match/game, a race any other unpredictable event.

It can also be regarded as risking a certain amount of money or valued item against someone else’s on the basis of the outcome of an unpredictable event such as a race or game.

For many gambling firms and betting casinos across the globe, the odds for football pools and other forms of betting are always offered by bookmakers on the outcome of races or games.

The majority of bets are always placed on association football, American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track cycling, auto racing, mixed martial arts, and boxing at both the amateur and professional levels.

Sports betting can also be further extended to non-athletic events, such as reality show contests and political elections, and non-human contests such as horse racing, greyhound racing, and illegal, underground cockfighting.

Different betting firms, however, like today’s bookies have different rules, regulations, terms and conditions that govern their operations.

This act has, however, resulted into different sorts of scandals in sport, affecting the integrity of sports events through various acts including point shaving, spot-fixing, bad calls from officials at key moments, and match fixing.

Odds for different outcomes in a single bet are usually presented either in European format (decimal odds), UK format (fractional odds), or American format (moneyline odds). European format (decimal odds) are used in continental Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are the ratio of the full payout to the stake, in a decimal format.


Decimal odds of 2.00 are an even bet in United Kingdom format (fractional odds) and are used by British bookmakers. They are the ratio of the amount won to the stake while Fractional odds of 1/1 are an even bet. US format odds are the amount won on a 100 stake when positive and the stake needed to win 100 when negative. US odds of 100 are an even bet.

The background of betting in Uganda started 50 years ago with lottery being the main activity carried out when the first gaming laws were drafted under the regulation of National Lotteries Board (NLB) and guided by the Lotteries and Gaming Act of 2016.

However, with the expansion of the gaming industry with new games being introduced and with the current technological advancement, many facets of the law relating to the lottery and gaming became outdated.

The current state of betting in Uganda indicates that there are several betting types in Uganda including the Lottery, Pool Betting, Bingo, Slot machines, Casino, and the Sports Betting which has dominated the industry with over 32 operators.

In Uganda, the minimum capital requirement for Betting and Slot machines to start operating in Uganda is 250 Million Shillings while One Billion shillings is a requirement for Casinos.

As of 2019, Sports betting is the most popular when most applicants express interest with a total of 32 operators having 22 from physical outlets and 9 through online betting.

They have been greatly settled in the Kampala Metropolitan region with over 817 shops followed by South West (167), Albertine/Rwenzori region (82), and the Central with 65 respectively.

Others are scattered in the Mid East (Elgon and Teso regions), Busoga, Karamoja, West Nile, and the Northern regions. The gaming industry has various benefits ranging from taxation by the Uganda Revenue Authority, provision of employment opportunities to the cashiers, branch managers, cleaners, and security personnel.

After internet access became more common in Uganda, online gambling also gained in popularity, though the growth of the industry hasn’t been without social consequences for the developing country.

There are a number of different regulated sites that are available to players here, though many foreign sites have also targeted the market here in Uganda given the government’s lack of effort in stopping these overseas operators from flourishing here, they are a serious competitor to the approved local sites.

There is one main method of deposit that stands out above all others being mobile money payments. By charging payments directly to users’ mobile phone bills, there is no worry about whether a customer has a bank account or other traditional financial instruments.

Generally, making a deposit through this mobile deposit method requires having an account on a participating mobile provider. In Uganda, there are several popular carriers, including MTN, and other telecommunication companies. Players can use the mobile money bill paying feature through their phone to transfer funds to the bookmaker instantly. Withdrawals can often also be processed back to the same phone account.

Because of the proliferation of live betting companies (particularly in Kampala), making cash deposits at these locations is also possible when dealing with certain betting companies.

In the recent years, different gamblers have luckily benefitted from the business winning whopping sums of money from 624M, 500M, 296M, 122M and other winners who benefit from consistency, Research on the games, and do careful selections.

To sum it up, the emergence of betting in Uganda has provided revenue and contributed to the economy despite posing negative effects to participants who are under age, those who get addicted, to the illegal operations.


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