Uganda Is The Second African Nation To Legalize Sports Betting
Like most of Africa, sports betting was traditionally illegal in Uganda until recently. After South Africa legalized recreational sports betting, Uganda followed in their footsteps, and now it is easier than ever to bet on sports from almost anywhere in the Capital city of Kampala, as long as that sport is soccer.
Even when betting on sports was technically illegal in Uganda, it was still a common practice, and one that was not necessarily hidden from public view. Now that it is a legally licensed and respectable business, the signs are unmistakable, in the most literal sense.
Anyone strolling through the Mukwano shopping center in Kampala’s busy downtown district can find gambling at a glance. Simply look for the crowd of people pushed in around television monitors, and from there you’ll easily spot signs bearing slogans like "You Bet, We Pay". The signs speak volumes more than these four simple words, they speak of a new Uganda, where betting is no longer an underground activity.
The company that is licensed to offer legal sports betting in Uganda operates under the name "Sports Betting Africa". Although their main location is in the downtown shopping center, Sports Betting Africa actually has 200 branch locations around Kampala where anyone can stop in to place a quick wager on the soccer match of their choice. Sports Betting Africa offers modern lounges for people to watch games in, and even provides free internet access for those who like to do a little research before deciding which team to bet on.
Betting on sports in Uganda is a fairly simple process. Upon arriving, a player picks up what is referred to as a "fixture list", which is basically a list of 12 soccer matches. All you have to do is mark who you think you will win the match, marking "1" for home team, "2" for visiting team or "X" for a tie. A player must bet on at least two of the matches, with the wager being Ush300 (around $0.17) for each one.
There are also punters who have VIP sports betting status in Uganda. These VIP bettors do not have to visit a location at all. They simply pick up the phone and make a bet. To qualify for VIP status, you have to be able to demonstrate that you can afford to bet at least Ush50,000 at a time, betting 2-3 times per week. That’s roughly equal to making 2-3 $20 bets per week. Try getting VIP status in Las Vegas for $60.
About the only down side to betting on sports in Uganda is that soccer is the only sport offered. Fans of baseball, basketball, hockey or American football would feel out of place in this environment. Sports Betting Africa does plan to add Rugby and Formula One racing to it’s offering in the near future, but at the moment, soccer reigns supreme.