Uganda is one of the world’s most beautiful countries. It lies on the shores of Lake Victoria and shares its borders with South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and DR Congo.
While it may not seem like the sports betting Mecca, the sports betting industry has seen a rapid rise in growth and popularity.
More and more people are getting into online sports betting and are looking for viable options to do so. It is our goal to provide you with just that.
Uganda is the third most powerful country in the East African Community (EAC). It has a rich gambling history dating back to the 1960s, when the first gaming laws were established.
In this guide, you will find and learn everything you need to bet in the Pearl of Africa and earn some good money through betting.
History of Betting in Uganda and Current Regulations
The National Gaming Board Uganda (NGBU) is responsible for the regulation of the local betting market, since the establishment of the Lotteries and Gaming Act No. 7 in 2016. The NGBU is also tasked with the issuance of licenses for online bookmakers.
All licensees are subject to 20% tax on their GGR and 15% tax applies on the bettor’s winnings. Bettors are not prosecuted for betting on non-locally licensed international bookmakers.
The legal gambling age is 25 for bettors in Uganda and online betting has been fully regulated and legalized since 8th April 2016.
Initially, it was hard for the government to promote this type of activity because of the bad reputation lotteries have in Africa. Nevertheless, the system did take off and, people quickly took interest in betting.
The Casino and Gaming Bill of 2004 was also passed at around the same time. This revolutionary legislation created a foundation for sportsbooks/bookmakers in Uganda to operate effectively on.
Betting saw a massive resurgence after the bill was passed. In 2007, Sports Betting Africa (SBA) started operating in Uganda and quickly became one of the most popular bookmakers in Uganda.
Ugandans love betting just like they love sports. Combine the two and it becomes a dream. This is a fairytale story for all sportsbooks and you cannot blame them.
Over 40% of the population of Kampala – Uganda’s largest city and capital, is involved in betting, of which, over almost 30% do so on a daily basis!
What has contributed largely to this meteoric rise in popularity of the young betting nation of Uganda is the availability of smartphones over the last few years.
In January 2019, President Yoweri Museveni announced that new gambling licenses will not be issued and that old ones will not be renewed. Fortunately for all of us, he did not go through with the plan.
In Uganda, people have to be at least 25 years of age to create accounts on online sportsbooks. Any failure to verify the personal information and the age of a customer can result in the suspension/cancellation of a bookmaker’s license.
While the acceptance process for new betting companies in Uganda is rather complex, it is also expensive to gain access to a license. To be able to even apply for a license, a company has to have a bank guarantee of 500,000,000 UGX (Ugandan Shilling) or more. The fee itself costs 20,000,000 UGX!
The Blueprint of a Top Betting Site in Uganda
If you are looking for the best betting company in Uganda, this is the process you should follow to understand what makes a good betting site.
First, you would need to test to see if the site is usable by both amateur bettors and experienced bettors.
Try out every feature so that you can be sure that the website functions perfectly.
The next step is comparing the odds with other bookmakers to benchmark and understand which website provides the best odds.
Bonuses and promotions should be prioritised when choosing the best betting site in Uganda because why not? Who doesn’t like free gifts and discounts?
If you can play with the sportsbook’s free bets in the beginning then that’s always a plus because you basically stand to earn money with zero risk. Betting sites in Uganda with bonuses have become extremely popular in recent years given the competitive landscape so don’t rush when making your selection.
Customer satisfaction has become the number 1 priority for every single top online sports betting platform.
Another extremely important feature for the best bookmaker is to have a top-quality app for both Android and iOS devices, as well as mobile browser versions of the website.
For all bettors, e-wallets and other payment methods are very important. All websites that do not offer enough of payment platforms for people to use are generally a put off.
A simple and quick cash out option is another massive bonus for any betting website that has it in Uganda. The basic logic being that it takes no time to deposit money so the least betting companies can do is return the winnings equally fast.
A lot of online betting platforms are adopting 24×7 live chat support for users with any grievances. If you run into a problem, you’d want your bookmaker to assist you properly and immediately. It has played a crucial role in building customer trust and loyalty. This is definitely a must-have now.
All of this would enhance a bettor’s experience and would keep them happy. You want bettors to return whenever they visit your website so these are the basic yet most important features for creating a blueprint of the perfect online sports betting platform.
Mobile Sports Betting in Uganda
When sports betting was in its nascent stage in Uganda, bettors had to deal with low-speed internet and outdated website designs.
The arrival of smartphones laid the foundation for the revolution of the betting industry in the Pearl of Africa.
Almost every phone available now is a smartphone and many of them are very reasonably priced.
This directly impacted internet use in the country, too. In 2008, Uganda had 31.66 million inhabitants, of which 2.5 million (7.89%) had internet access. In 2018, however, of the risen population of 42.82 million people, 18.14 million (42.38%) were online. This is a staggering jump over a 10 year period.
This number has continued to increase and is expected to increase even further with a lot the population being between the ages of 25-40.
By looking at the current situation, it is possible that you will not even need televisions anymore, as there are so many live streaming options available.
A lot of sportsbooks offer live streaming options for events that you have placed bets on. Enjoying high-definition football, on-the-go, from wherever, simply on your handheld device has proven what a massive transformation technology is seeing.
Bonuses for betting in Uganda
New customer free bet offers and bonuses are fantastic, and should be available on most betting platforms if not all, in Uganda.
They give new bettors the chance to earn lots of money from the get-go. These online sportsbooks offer sign up offers that come in many forms. They can be free bet offers to no deposit bonus offers.
Always do your best to utilise as many bonuses, promotions, offers and gifts that you may get as they are truly beneficial.
Sports available for betting in Uganda
Football, of course, is the most popular sport and dominates the betting market as well, but sports such as basketball, volleyball, boxing and cricket are also extremely popular in the country.
Diversity of betting choices is essential as it allows bettors to make bets on multiple events and to benefit from higher chances of winning.
Many of Ugandan bettors bet mainly through their mobile devices. This means that they are more likely to appreciate a sports betting platform that has a good mobile application/mobile website.
Most of the bookmakers/sportsbooks in Uganda cover most of the important sports events including the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, the NBA, NFL and many more.
Here is a list of the biggest sports in Uganda. This is far from exhaustive, mind you, since Ugandans just adore sports in general.
- Horse Racing
- Table Tennis
- Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
- Ski Jumping
- Water Polo
Uganda has an interesting history when it comes to sports. Football is one of the most popular games, together with cricket and tennis although the nation has failed to make a mark in these sports.
Boxing and rugby are popular too. There are Ugandan teams that perform quite well and bettors enjoy placing bets on some of the country’s national leagues for these sports.
With the growing popularity of computer games, the interest in betting on gaming tournaments has grown significantly in popularity without a doubt.
Most sportsbooks now offer eSports betting on their platforms. If you are interested in betting on esports then you can directly bet on the most played computer gaming events/competitions. Uganda has also taking a liking to esports.
The three biggest games for betting are CS:GO, League of Legends and Dota 2. Although esports are very popular, some betting sites in Uganda still do not offer them for certain territories. But still, there are other sportsbooks that have taken the opportunity to expand their services by adding these games to their betting market.
Payment Methods for Betting in Uganda
Depositing money in Ugandan sports betting platforms is standard for all betting sites in Uganda.
You can choose between the most widely used payment methods such as Visa, Mastercard, Paysafecard, EcoPayz and others.
Not every sportsbook offers payment methods that are more likely to be used in Uganda only.
If bettors want to withdraw their funds, they can do so using the same method that they used for depositing the money.
Keep in mind, that there may be additional charges for depositing or withdrawing depending on the payment method that you use.
The processing time for withdrawals, in most cases, may take up to 2-3 business days due to additional verification procedures.
The most common payment methods available on online sports betting platforms are Airtel Money, MTN Mobile Money, Africell Money and M-Sente. All 4 of these are local mobile money transfer platforms that have been launched by Airtel, MTN, Africell and Uganda Telecom, respectively.
E-wallets, such as Neteller and Skrill, are becoming increasingly popular in the Uganda betting market in recent years as well.
The future of sports betting in the Pearl of Africa
Despite President Museveni’s intention to ban all gambling activities throughout the country back in January 2019, online betting is growing in Uganda.
Since the taxation on betting operators has been reduced from 35% to 20%, it has played a very crucial role in the development of the industry. It has also shown that the government is determined to make the market more appealing to major international betting companies to try and convince them to apply for a local license.
Thus, the future of sports betting in Uganda looks fairly bright and will grow rapidly with the entry of more companies as the competitive landscape grows.