The National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board (NLGRB) of Uganda has launched a significant crackdown on illegal gaming activities. In a bold move, the authority has seized a whopping 3,000 unlicensed sports betting and gaming machines across the nation.

Denis Ngabirano, the Executive Director of NLGRB, stated that these confiscated machines had been smuggled into Uganda, bypassing legal channels. The operators of these machines, he added, were operating without the necessary licenses, posing a challenge to legal gaming norms.

Ngabirano expressed his frustration with operators who have consistently ignored calls to legalize their operations. “These are individuals we’ve urged to get proper gaming licenses, yet they remain stubborn,” he said. He made it clear that illegal operators must either regularize their operations or exit the industry. He announced that the impounded machines are scheduled for destruction, sending a clear message about the government’s stance on illegal gaming.

Under the Lotteries and Gaming Act of 2018, the NLGRB is empowered to take decisive actions, such as confiscating illegal gaming machines and shutting down unauthorized gaming sites. To this end, Ngabirano mentioned that 17 illegal gaming sites have already been closed across Uganda.

Introducing the National Electronic Monitoring System

As previously reported by BCA, the NLGRB has introduced a national electronic monitoring system. This system requires all registered gaming operators to submit daily financial reports to both the NLGRB and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), ensuring transparency and compliance.

Aloysius Adyeri, the Chairperson of the Lotteries and Gaming Board commented on the pioneering nature of the new system. “This is a first in Africa. Uganda is now a benchmark for other countries in terms of gaming regulation,” he stated. The system is expected to protect citizens from the negative impacts of gaming while ensuring that licensed operators accurately declare their revenues.

Adyeri emphasized the need for licensed operators to fulfil their financial obligations to the government. “We expect full compliance. This system will reveal actual turnovers and corresponding tax obligations,” he said. The system’s developers, brought in from Slovenia, have tailored it to meet Uganda’s specific regulatory needs, marking a new era in the country’s approach to gaming regulation.

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