HomeGamingUganda Gambling and Betting Industry Experience Massive Growth in 10 Months

Uganda Gambling and Betting Industry Experience Massive Growth in 10 Months

Uganda betting and gaming industry has experienced a remarkable surge, with payouts to winning tickets reaching at least Shs3 trillion in the 10 months leading up to April 2024. This figure represents a significant increase of Shs900 billion compared to the Shs2.1 trillion paid out in the full 2023/24 financial year, translating to a 90.9% return on bets placed during the period.

According to the National Lotteries and Gambling Regulatory Board, during the 2022/23 financial year, Shs2.1 trillion was paid out against Shs2.4 trillion staked. However, the trend has shifted, with players staking Shs3.3 trillion from July 2023 to the present, an increase of Shs1.2 trillion from the Shs2.1 trillion recorded in the first half of the 2023/24 fiscal year.

“In recent years, there has been a trend towards greater return to players. Payouts have risen from 73% in the 2022/23 financial year to now 90.9%, and this can be attributed to the tax amendments made in the Income Tax Act,” said Denis Ngabirano, the acting chief executive officer of the National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board.

Ngabirano noted that the gaming and betting industry has experienced rapid growth, with the number of betting and gaming companies in Uganda increasing to 45, up from a previous figure. This growth has been driven by the growing popularity of European sports, particularly football, among the youth.

Tax revenue from gambling and betting activities has also seen a significant increase, almost tripling in the four years leading up to the 2022/23 financial year. Data from the Uganda Revenue Authority Annual Data Book shows that tax revenue grew from Shs49.9 billion in the 2019/20 financial year to Shs133.4 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, a growth of 37.4%.

The shift to online gaming and betting platforms has been a significant factor in the industry’s growth, with many companies establishing 24-hour online services. However, the government has implemented various taxes, including a 30% tax on the promoter’s turnover, a 15% withholding tax on winning bets, and a 20% tax on the promoter’s winning tickets, to control the industry’s social impact.

The government’s approach has led to the exit of some companies, such as Sports Betting Africa, 1xBet, and Pulsebet, in the last 10 years, but the industry as a whole continues to thrive, with projections indicating that tax revenue and stakes are expected to double before the end of the 2023/24 financial year.

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