The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, issued a directive stating that new gambling licences will no longer be issued to Sports Betting companies.
And as for existing ones, those companies won't be able to renew them once they expire.
One of the main reasons for effectively banning sports Betting, as explained by Museveni, is that it promotes idleness among Uganda's young people.
Revealed by David Bahati, Minister of State for Finance, he said that:
One of the main reasons for the ban, is because reports revealed that more than half of African people that bet on sports are under the age of 35.
Gambling, especially in sport, has become a phenomenon across East Africa, made possible by the ubiquity of satellite and digital television, as well as with smartphones that enable online and app-based gambling. These made gambling even more accessible and easy for the youth, as they believe that they can make some quick money.
Since betting can become an addiction, most of the gamblers that are at their working age prime with the most energy, should not be idle. This is why Uganda chooses to ban this particular activity.
The minister continued by saying that Ugandan youth are trapped in a vicious cycle of betting, staking their little earnings while believing that they might win a jackpot in every stake. He said religious leaders had also complained that online betting has reduced productivity among Uganda's youngsters, sinking their families further into poverty.
This is why the Uganda government wants to change this, to make sure that Ugandans work their way to prosperity instead of expecting sudden cash, based on speculation and uncertainty.
"Gambling, sports betting and gambling, there is no renewal of the licences of the companies that are operating. No new companies are going to be licensed, that is what the president has said…The president has directed." Behati said.
In Uganda, gambling is legal, and it regulated under The National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act.
It mainly includes lotteries, casinos and gaming and pool betting. There are thousands of active gambling and betting operators (both that are legal and illegal) in the country.
This ban isn't received well with sports betting companies that have experienced massive growth in Uganda and other parts of Africa.
Some, like Betway, have already come out in opposition of the ban. The company indicated that the ban puts their investment at risk, and that they were never consulted as stakeholders by the government.
"The directive is not only a surprise but shocking. It is a danger to our investment," said Samuel Mutekanga, an operator at Betway, shocked by the decision. "Were we consulted? No. How can such a ban come in a pedestrian way? Where does it leave the money we have invested?"
Patrick Lubaale from Gal's Sports Betting, another sports betting company, said that thousands of people depended upon the industry.
"If the President is complaining about the negative effects on young people, we have already been sensitising the public about the irresponsible betting and people are aware about this, but this should not be reason to ban the trade," he said.