The symposium will discuss strategies needed to improve the sports betting sector
PIC: Participants attend the betting conference at Munyonyo in 2015
Participants from across the African continent will gather in Kampala next month for the third Annual Sports Betting East Africa 2017 conference.
European industry experts are expected to also be a part of the meet.
During the two-day symposium, running on April 10-11, those taking part will discuss strategies needed to improve the sports betting sector for all stakeholders involved.
Manzi Tumubweine (left) is the chairman of the National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board.
His belief is that Uganda's gaming and betting industry will become stronger and better as the country continues to host international conferences regularly.
It has been a journey of growth for the local sports betting industry over the last couple of years. This will be the second time in three years that Uganda is hosting the event.
"These conferences are good for Uganda because they introduce international best practices to not only Ugandan firms but also to us, the regulators," said Tumubweine.
Meanwhile, Yudi Soetjiptadi, the project director of Hong Kong-based Eventus International, the event organisers, says the African continent is projected to become the largest market opportunity for the global gaming industry over the next five years, hence the need to align it to the rest of the world.
Yudi Soetjiptadi of Hong Kong-based Eventus International
"This is the only dedicated sports betting conference in Africa where we focus on the latest opportunities, trends and strategies in this niche area," he says.
For, Anton Opaman of Betway Uganda, more policy discussions is what he would like to see happening this time around.
"As usual I will attend the conference next month. However, I hope real issues with the right policymakers are discussed more as opposed to treating the forum as an opportunity for suppliers to showcase to the industry," he says.
With the potential to become a vibrant industry, (due to the ‘risk taking' nature of Ugandans) Opaman believes it is now time for the government to embrace betting and view it as a fully-fledged industry and not one "for a few opportunists taking advantage of the people".
"I hope the conference can get the government and other stakeholders to understand betting economics in order to take informed policy decisions," he adds.
The symposium comes at an opportune time for Uganda to examine the impact of the recently enacted Lotteries and Gaming Act, 2016 which seeks to reform and consolidate legislation on lotteries, gaming, betting and casino activities, and has accordingly repealed the National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act.
Tumubweine notes that the new law will become fully operational this year.
"We are slowly but steadily strengthening the regulations. The aim is to have fewer but serious operators who are willing to stick to the letter of the law and serve Ugandans better," he says, adding that after all, a smaller number of companies are easier to regulate.
Over the last five years, tighter regulations have meant a reduction in sports betting firms and slot machines, with numbers reducing from over 100 to about 40.
Other pertinent issues that the upcoming event, to be held at Kampala Serena Hotel, will address include:
- understanding why sports betting is spreading so fast across Africa
- embracing transparency and accountability in sports betting
- discussing the evolution of the mobile phone as a game changer for the sports betting business
- case studies on how to engage sports bettors during their off-season and above all
- the challenge of sustaining the sports betting industry in Africa
Registering for the conference can be done online at the Sports Betting East Africa website www.sportsbettingevents.com where an evolving agenda has been uploaded.