NAIROBI, Kenya, July 28 – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Friday hosted a delegation from betting firm SportPesa at State House, Entebbe as the gaming giants inched closer to extending their operations in Uganda.
The SportPesa officials were joined in the meeting by the country’s Minister for Sports, Nakiwala Kiyingi, Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) President, Moses Hassim Magongo and other leaders where the parties discussed sports development and regulation of the country’s gaming industry.
“The group seeks to help the government empower the youth through football and increase revenue by strictly regulating betting,” President Museveni said.
SportPesa CEOs, Ronald Karauri (Kenya) and Pavel Slavkov (Tanzania) as well as Abass Tarimba, SportPesa Tanzania Director of Administration were invited to Uganda and presented to the Head of State a signed English Premier League Everton jersey.
“I thank them for my gift of a ball and a shirt autographed by the Everton manager, Ronald Koeman,” President Museveni added.
“The meeting was successful as we took another key step towards bringing SportPesa to Uganda,” his Minister for Sports, Kiyingi, who led a Ugandan government team to visit SportPesa headquarters in Nairobi last Friday (July 21) to lay ground for the State House Entebbe meeting, added.
Besides opening their doors for the SportsPesa sport gaming business and investment in sport, the Ugandan Government is also seeking to partner with the firm to regulate the industry as it seeks to change its legislation to accommodate its entry.
The country has been grappling with loss of revenue due to the proliferation of betting shops that seem to evade paying taxes.
“We discussed their issues in the gaming industry which they have tried to deal with by imposing heavy taxation to no avail and how we can support sports including having Ugandan teams in the SportsPesa Super Cup if we were in the country,” Karauri underscored.
“With good online gaming regulation, the Government will earn revenue which can be used to empower the youth so that they can stop spending their days in sport betting kiosks and grow to engage in meaningful activity,” Karauri added.
“We support the coming of SportPesa to Uganda because funding in sport can only be successful if its driven by the private sector. If you look at the English Premier League, gaming is the number one source of this support, “FUFA boss Magongo remarked.