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What Are The Rules About Online Gambling in Uganda?

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By Staff Writer

The online gambling industry is growing quickly and becoming more popular every day. Online casinos make it easier than ever for people all over the world to play their favorite games or join in on wagers for sporting events.

While previously, most people did not have access to physical casinos to play the games they love, the convenience of playing on a computer or smartphone makes this pastime accessible to everyone. With the increased popularity, many countries have lifted bans and/or restrictions on gambling to allow their citizens to play online.

One place in particular that has fully embraced online casinos and sports betting is Uganda. Gambling was already a popular form of entertainment in this country before online casinos were an option. Land-based casinos in Kampala have been thriving for years. Now, even more people in Uganda are gambling and it has even become a cause for some concern.

To adapt to the increasing popularity of online gambling, Uganda’s government has passed several laws to ensure that citizens are playing in a safe way. The major concern in this particular situation is a rise in underaged gambling and gambling addictions.

Gambling Habits in Uganda

Gambling has been popular in Uganda for a long time. There are multiple cities within the country that are home to land-based casinos with over a dozen options combined. Gambling is legal in Uganda and has been regulated with laws like The National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting Act. Some of the most popular activities include sports betting, slot machines, and the lottery.

In fact, in Africa overall, the gambling industry is thriving. Casinos continue to see record-high revenues. Each year gambling also brings in increasingly large sums in federal taxes. In Uganda specifically, the National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board enforce a 35% revenue tax on all gambling activities.

Despite the financial success for the industry and the government, excessive gambling habits have been the cause of some serious concerns. The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, is currently working to decrease gambling in the country.

One major way that he is attempting to slow things down is by banning sports betting. In 2018, Museveni declared that no new licenses would be issued for domestic sports betting companies. Those that were already issued would also not be renewed once they expired.

The major areas of concern that lead to this decision were an increase in underaged gambling, increased poverty, and gambling addictions. The impact that gambling has on the citizens of this country is not always positive. Many hear success stories and spend what little money they have trying to win a large jackpot. Because of the unhealthy mindset around gambling, the government has begun to take these measures in an effort to decrease the amount of time that its citizens spend gambling.

The Rise of Online Casinos

In the past few years, the number of people in Uganda who had access to the internet has dramatically increased. There is also a significant rise in smartphone usage. This increased connectivity, combined with the rise of online casinos, makes it easy for citizens of Uganda to continue with their gambling habits despite the discouragement from their government.

The ability to connect with online casinos from all over the world is, of course, one of the major draws of the industry. According to Lucian Marinescu of Online Casino Gems, “The industry shift from land-based casinos to online casinos is bringing in wider audiences than ever because it’s just so convenient.”

While there is growing concern from the government in Uganda, citizens won’t have to change their online gambling habits yet. The regulations that the government is sending down so far only interfere with domestic companies. Companies in other areas of the world will continue to offer services to the population of Uganda.

With such a simple alternative, it’s likely that the restrictions the government places on domestic gambling will only cause citizens to seek out other online casinos. So, these regulations will not necessarily discourage citizens from gambling, but it could decrease the amount of tax revenue that the government receives from casino games and sports betting.

Rules in Uganda

When it comes to rules that affect online gambling among Ugandans, the focus is mainly on safe and secure gambling. These safety checks are common across the entire industry, not just in Uganda, and include identity confirmation, age confirmation, and exclusion systems to reject those who are gambling illegally.

Currently, online gambling is legal in Uganda, though there was suspicion initially that the practice would be banned. However, this speculation comes from the fact that Uganda seeks to protect its own domestic gambling industry. It does not stem from any sort of fear or distaste for online gambling.

Right now, the only restriction to online gambling in Uganda that affects players is an age restriction. The legal gambling age for Ugandans is 25. In order for citizens to legally gamble, they must confirm their age and provide identification before playing.

The regulations that are in place today, specifically The Lotteries and Gaming Act of 2016 has more of an effect on the online casinos themselves rather than the players. This act repealed the National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting Act that were in place previously. This act ensures that the casinos are honest, trustworthy, and safe for the user. In this act, required operational licenses, capital requirements, and increased gaming tax laws are enforced on casino companies.

Conclusion

Gambling is a popular pastime in Uganda, and despite the efforts of government officials, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon. The only rules to keep citizens from gambling online are focused on age requirements. As long as players are of legal gambling age, they can enjoy online casino games and sports betting to their heart’s content.

With increased regulations and a looming ban on sports betting companies, it’s likely that more citizens of Uganda will turn to online casinos over the next few years so that they can continue their gambling habits.

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Cab driver wins big in MoMo Nyabo promo, to invest in fish business

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Ayebale Ismail who won Ugx 4.2 million in MoMo Nyabo promo is going to invest his cash prize in Fish business.

Ayebale Ismail who won Ugx 4.2 million in MoMo Nyabo promo is going to invest his cash prize in Fish business.

By Our Reporter

Through its promotion dubbed MoMo Nyabo Together, MTN Uganda is giving out up to Ugx 5,000,000 shillings to two winners every weekday in a bid to support Ugandans as they rebuild from the financial devastations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the recent lucky winners is 34-year-old Ismail Ayebale, an airport taxi driver walked away with Ugx 4,200,000 shillings. The airport cab driver who has been out of business since the closure of the airport was overjoyed to learn that he had been chosen as a lucky winner in the on-going MTN MoMoNyabo Together promotion.

Due to his Covid 19-induced unemployment, Ayebale became a fish vendor to support his family. The young man that lives next to Lake Victoria in Entebbe buys fish from various fishermen and later on dresses and sells it to people in Kampala at a profit, to make ends meet for his family.

“Life has not been the same, the money I earn now is nothing compared to what I would make before the COVID pandemic,” Ayebale said as he narrated how tough the times have been for the past five months.

The MTN Marketing Coordinator for Central Region, Jimmy Ssempuuma congratulated Ayebale while handing over his cheque of Ugx 4,200,000 shillings. He empahises MTN’s commitment to supporting its customers though such promotions.

Ayebale chose to share the money he won with his mother Margret Nyakaisiki. An excited Nyakaisiki over a phone conversation ululated as she vehemently thanked MTN Uganda for giving back to her son who in turn shared with her.

Ayebale noted that he had always heard about the MoMoNyabo campaign but always thought it was a hoax since he had never won. He however confirmed in the presence of his family that having been named a lucky winner, he is now a strong believer of the MoMoNyabo Together promotion.

To take part in the promotion that was launched last month, MTN customers simply use the MyMTN app or dial *165# to buy data or airtime as well as paying for many other services using Mobile Money.

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MTN MoMo: Your One-stop Payment Point

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By Our Reporter 

In March 2009, MTN became the first telecom operator in Uganda to launch a mobile financial service that would revolutionize the country’s financial fabric. More than a decade later, the service has evolved into a one-stop financial transaction point that is championing financial inclusion across the spectrum as it transforms the country into a cashless economy.

From the most basic feature of sending and receiving money, to performing simple tasks such as buying airtime and data in the comfort of your home or paying bills and school fees, you can now transact across the borders as well as pay taxes to the Uganda Revenue Authority, make Kampala City Council Authority Payments and make donations and so many other payments on your phone using MTN MoMo.

According to Stephen Mutana, the General Manager Mobile Financial Services at MTN Uganda, paying for goods and services is easy, safe and convenient when you keep some money on MTN MoMo.

He added that, “the experience of using MTN MoMo has been made even better with the MyMTN app.”

The MyMTN app is available and can be downloaded from both android and iOS app stores.

To ease the payment for goods and services, MTN Uganda launched MoMoPay, a digital payment platform that allows customers to pay for goods and services directly from their Mobile Money accounts, free of charge without having to withdraw it first.

Caroline Nakato, an ardent user of the MoMoPay service says that the payment method has simplified her life.

“I don’t have to stress with going to the bank to withdraw cash and carrying it around for shopping or paying for certain services. All I have to do is transfer it to my MoMo account and off I go. It saves me time yet it is safe secure and always available. Even when I lost my phone, my PIN number keeps my money safe,” says Nakato.

MTN MoMoPay is available in several supermarkets, shops, pharmacies, hospitals and all MTN Service Centers in towns across the country, meaning that even when one travels upcountry, they can still access the service.

Online Shopping with MTN MoMo

Another exciting innovation for people who love online shopping is perhaps, the MTN MoMocard. MTN in partnership with Mastercard offers customers the ability to make online payments using a virtual card known as the MTN MoMocard. The payments are made from the customer’s MTN MoMo account.

To enjoy this service, simply dial *165*70# and select option 1 (Create MTN
MoMocard). You will be prompted to enter your MTN MoMo PIN. The MTN MoMocard details are sent to the customer via SMS message. It costs UGX 1,000 shillings only to create the MTN MoMocard for a transaction.

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Airtel Uganda opens online shop

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Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar addresses guests during a business breakfast held recently

Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar

By Our Reporter

Airtel Uganda has launched an online shop on its website that will enable customers conveniently, quickly and safely order for devices.

The platform that is now live, provides customers a wide range of devices to include; the 4G Pocket WIFI/MIFI, WIFI Indoor Router, a pair of Broadband Outdoor and Indoor Unit and My First 4G Smartphone.

Commenting on the launch, the Airtel Uganda Managing Director V.G. Somasekhar said; “We are excited to launch this platform that will provide Airtel customers with an easy, quick and safe way to purchase our products. We strongly believe in putting our customer at the centre of everything we do. With this objective in mind, we continue to introduce digital innovations and make improvements to our processes that have put our customers in greater control of their overall telecoms experience.”

With the Airtel Online Shop, all the customer needs is internet. Through this platform, customers will be able to connect with the Airtel Broadband team which will follow up on their orders and then supply the devices they have ordered for.

“During such crucial times, it is vital for us to continuously think about our customers’ health and safety. As part of our post Covid-19 strategy, all the products will be delivered with all safety precautions like sanitation of packages and cashless payment,” the General Manager-Broadband, Brenden Kachenje said.

To make a purchase, customers will have to visit the Airtel Uganda website and navigate to the Broadband tab from where they will choose their preferred device and click the Order Now button. They will then have to fill in contact details to complete their order.

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How the MTN MoMo Nyabo promo is changing lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

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Betty Nanfuka and her husband jubilate after receiving their money won in MTN MoMo Nyabo promo.

Betty Nanfuka and her husband jubilate after receiving their money won in MTN MoMo Nyabo promo.

By Our Reporter 

The economic and financial constraints caused by COVID-19 have been felt by many people in Uganda. However, telecom giant, MTN Uganda through its MTN MoMo Nyabo Together Promotion, is restoring lives in ways unimaginable.

Betty Nanfuka, 54, from Buwama in Masaka district, won herself 5,000,000 Uganda shillings. Nanfuka refused to believe that she had won till she received the actual MTN team at her residence in Buwama.

The mother of twelve and grandmother of ten danced and jubilated while welcoming the MTN team to her residence in Buwama.

Nanfuka said she would use the money she has won to finally build a permanent structure; “I intend to immediately buy iron sheets so that I can build my dream home. With the rest of the money I will be able to invest in farming as I already had a nursery bed for my tomatoes.”

A security conscious Nanfuka narrated how she later on had to inquire from the area chairman of Sango sub county if indeed MTN had an ongoing promotion since she does not have a television set and barely uses her radio. After confirming the truth, an overly excited Nanfuka even failed to sleep as she resorted to praying the rosary since it all felt like a dream to her.

Nanfuka has been a loyal client to the MTN brand especially its mobile money service that she uses to pay for Ready Pay solar.

Nanfuka chose her husband Leonard Kawuma as her beneficiary; “He knows how far we have come,” she said, in reference to her husband as they danced together.

Kawuma received 2,000,000 Uganda shillings as his wife received 3,000,000 Uganda shillings.

Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, one’s worst nightmare would be falling sick of either COVID-19 itself or any other ailment. As many struggle to afford feeding and accommodation bills, the last bill one would want to incur is a medical bill.

Despite all the financial challenges that came with the pandemic, Nalongo Kevin Namagembe a resident of Kikoni had accumulated medical bills that had stripped her of all her finances yet she still had more medical bills to meet. Namagembe who is a Manager at Intertrade Global Eastern region stationed in Malaba has not been able to resume work because of her health complications.

Nalongo Kevin Namagembe from Makerere-Kikoni won Ugx 4.2 million from the MTN MoMo Nyabo Promotion

Nalongo Kevin Namagembe won Ugx 4.2 million from the MTN MoMo Nyabo Promotion

Fortunately, she won Ugx 4,200,000 shillings in the on-going MTN MoMo Nyabo Promotion and with this money, she will be able to treat her hand that was paralyzed by the illness.

During the lockdown Namagembe used up all she had whilst footing her medical bills: “Transport alone was expensive as I was normally charged 25,000 to get to Mulago from Makerere-Kikoni,” she said. Namagembe thanked God for not forsaking her and using MTN to bless her at a time she needed it the most.

Namagembe further said that her health was her major priority and she would use the money she had won to pay for her therapy as well as purchase the different medications she had been advised to buy.

“I can now breathe. I am now able to afford the natural remedies my nutritionist had recommended as well all the medicine I need.” Said a happy Namagembe. She shared the money with her father, Matthew Mukasa Ssentamu.

Apart from the 2 daily winners of up to UGX 5,000,000, 250 people win 50,000 shillings directly every day. All you have to do is pay using MTN MoMo and stand a chance to win.

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