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Gov’t Explains Increase in Taxes on Betting

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija speaking to attendees at the budget review breakfast

Ugandans who practice gaming and pool betting are set for tough times following the introduction of 15% tax on the take home income.

In addiction to the 20% that is paid by the betting companies on their gross income, website their customers will also have to pay 15% on the money won from betting.

According to Doris Akol, the Commissioner General for the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), this tax is intended to curb down the practice of betting “which has engulfed the nation especially the youth.”

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While speaking at a budget review breakfast meeting, Akol noted that as the majority of Ugandans wake up early to go out and work, some youths go to betting parlors as early as 7AM.

Akol said some have turned betting into a full time job where they earn income so they should pay taxes like the rest of Ugandans.

“Betting is a bad practice which is addictive. We have complaints from parents who said their children have used school tuition to bet. We do not want betting to become an alternative to formal employments. These young people have a lot of informal work they can do instead of betting.”

Speaking at the same function,  Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance said as much as betting companies are bringing in income to the economy through taxation and providing employment, the same companies are taking advantage of poor jobless Ugandans who are desperate to earn money quickly hence losing even the little they have.

“If betting companies want to continue operating, let them deal with the rich who have money to spend on such things. Involving the poor youth who are losing money while desperate to earn more will only result into more social problems like theft and vandalism,” Kasaija said.

He added; “That is why it is important for government to get watch on such activities. We are hoping this new tax will discourage some of them knowing that they are after all not going to gain much from betting.”

“We need the youth to go out and do more work, start small business which we are willing to subsidize through favorable taxation and easy access to finances for the youth.”

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