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The Future of The Online Casino Industry in Uganda

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By Staff Writer

The first thing that comes up to your mind when you think of casino gambling is probably Las Vegas or maybe Monte Carlo. While these cities are known among gamblers across the globe, the second largest continent Africa is home to a few countries that are very welcoming towards gambling. 

While Africa as a whole is not famous for gambling as gambling activities are banned in many countries, there are a few African countries that cater to online casino players and one of these is Uganda.

Before we examine Ugandan gambling laws and regulations, we have to go back in time and examine the earliest days of gambling activities. While gambling activities are banned in most Northern African countries, there is evidence of gambling activities among residents of the sub-Saharan African region. 

More specifically, archaeologists uncovered dice that were used around 3000 BC. Back in the seventeenth century, the Chinese imported thoroughbred horses for the local stock and one century later, horse racing was introduced.

The vast majority of the Northern African region banned gambling activities before colonialism. However, gambling activities still thrived. There is also some evidence of Madagascar residents engaging in gambling activities centuries before the very first legal casinos opened their doors. 

Fast forward to the present day, South Africa is home to the biggest, most profitable gambling market in Africa. However, countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania are also homes to lucrative gambling markets thanks to lenient gambling laws and regulations.

Gambling Laws and Regulations in Uganda and Other African Countries

Africa is a stunning continent rich in various mineral resources. As mentioned in the previous section, not many African countries are gambling nations, but African folk has been involved in gambling activities since ancient times. 

Over the last several years, the biggest African gambling markets underwent major changes following the rising adoption of digital devices and of course, rising Internet penetration rates.

When it comes to the legality of gambling in Africa, many African countries have rather strict gambling laws and regulations such as Sudan. There are not many gamblers among residents of Sudan. In Morocco, gambling activities are quite popular. However, African countries with the most developed gambling industries are:

  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Botswana
  • Ghana

Many international sites cater to Ugandan players as shown here. Licensed and regulated, these sites legally operate in the country, they feature impressive gaming libraries, support a variety of local payment options, and grant generous bonuses and promotions. 

While Ugandan residents are fans of gambling, over eighty percent of the gambling activities in Africa come from South African players. South Africa has very welcoming gambling laws and regulations and many internationally renowned sites cater to South Africans.

Kenya was the very first African country to legalize online gambling activities. In Kenya, international sports betting and online casino sites operate without any restrictions. Mobile gambling is also popular among Kenyan residents. 

Nigeria is home to the second most profitable gambling industry in Africa. In Nigeria, both local and international sites operate, and the industry’s revenues go over US$45 million. 

Tanzania is not only home to renowned websites but also thriving land-based casinos. After the Gambling Act legalized all forms of gambling, the country experienced a major economic boost.

Just like South African, Nigeria, and Kenya, Botswana is also home to a well-regulated gambling industry with legally operating land-based casinos, online casinos, as well as online sports betting sites. Another African country that is rather friendly towards gambling activities in Ghana. 

Ghanaian players have access to many reputable offline and online establishments. These activities have also been thriving in Uganda as the country’s lawmakers are rather friendly to lotteries and online gambling in general. Gambling activities in Uganda are regulated by the Lotteries and Gaming Act 2016 and this act:

  1. Established the National Gaming Board of Uganda
  2. Formed Data Protection laws and regulations
  3. Established National Information Technology Authority
  4. Devised regulatory framework
  5. Set criteria to license submission and compliance requirements
  6. Set online casinos and lotteries licensing and other fees

The Legality of Gambling Online in Uganda

After the Lotteries and Gaming Act came into force in 2016, all forms of casino gambling activities as well as lotteries and sports betting have been legalized. The National Gaming Board of Uganda is responsible for overseeing all forms of gambling activities. 

The National Gaming Board of Uganda is also responsible for issuing licenses to sports betting and online casino gaming sites and lotteries. Gambling is extremely popular among Ugandans, especially young adults.

According to this report, there were over twelve million active Internet users in the country in the first month of 2021. Since Uganda is home to over 46 million people as estimated in January of this year, its internet penetration rate stands at around 26.2%. The country’s internet penetration rate increased by over one million in twelve months from 2020 to 2021. As of January, this year, there were over twenty-eight million mobile subscriptions in Uganda.

Thanks to the increasing adoption of digital devices and exponentially rising internet penetration rate, the future of online casinos in Uganda looks brighter than ever. As one of the fastest-growing industries in Uganda, the online gambling industry is expected to attract more internationally renowned companies.

 The internet will also become more accessible throughout the country. Moreover, as western influence persists in the country, more people will become interested in such activities.

Mobile payments are also expected to revolutionize the Uganda online gambling industry. In addition to Visa, Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal, Ugandan players prefer making deposits using e-wallet Airtel and MTN. 

The introduction of more mobile payment options is a huge improvement over standard banking options. Thanks to MTN and M-Pesa that also operated in Tanzania, South Sudan, and Rwanda, players get to easily fund their accounts.

The introduction of more mobile payment options had a tremendous impact on the Uganda online casino industry. By all accounts, mobile gaming is the future of the Ugandan iGaming industry. Speaking of what the future may hold, South Africa will most certainly remain a pacesetter with other African gambling nations including Uganda following its footsteps.

Uganda and other African countries are also setting the pace to embrace emerging technologies, and these are the same technologies revolutionizing the iGaming industry. Back in 2019, new gambling laws and regulations were passed by the government. However, new age restrictions will not negatively affect the rise of the Ugandan iGaming industry in the years to come.  

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