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More information about Uganda – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations

Table of Contents

Find the Best Swahili Casino Online

For now, you still have a decent amount of land-based casinos at your disposal in Uganda. As the stance of the government on gambling has changed in recent years, this might be a thing of the past very soon. We’ll go into more detail later on in this guide. Local casinos can mostly be found in Kampala. They are open to locals and foreign tourists. You should be aware that the legal age for gambling is 25 in Uganda and, therefore, much higher than in most countries. 

When it comes to online gambling, the only locally regulated option is sports betting. But it is possible to play at foreign-based online casinos as many of them are accepting players from Uganda as well. Currently, the government is tolerating this, but we recommend keeping an eye out for future developments, just to be safe. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Check the jurisdiction of the online casino
  • Does the casino accept players from Uganda?
  • Do you have access to the accepted payment methods?
  • Is the casino properly licensed to ensure fair gaming?
  • The minimum age for gambling in Uganda is 25

In order to find out more about the best international online casinos that accept players from Uganda, we recommend checking out our GoodLuckMate top lists and casino reviews.

Gambling Regulation – Ugandan National Lotteries Board

Some forms of gambling used to be entirely legal in Uganda. This mainly includes the national lottery and sports betting. The Ugandan National Lotteries Board is the regulatory body for all gambling activities. Bookmakers could apply for betting licenses until 2019. The companies had to go through thorough background checks and had to put up a bond worth the equivalent of roughly €65,000. This sum was supposed to cover payments to the customers in case the betting operator shuts down its business. There are also several land-based casinos that are still operating legally.

However, in 2019, there was a big change. President Yoweri Museveni has directed the government to halt renewing or issuing licenses to any gaming companies. He made the following statement:

“Ugandan youth are trapped in a vicious cycle of betting, staking their little earnings while believing that they might win a jackpot in every stake. Religious leaders had also complained that online betting has reduced productivity among Uganda's youngsters, sinking families further into poverty.”

So far the situation is relatively unclear and leaves a lot of questions. There is not much information available on how long existing licenses will be valid. Furthermore, it is uncertain if this will affect land-based casinos in a similar fashion. So far local casinos seem to operate as per usual.  

Localized Online Casinos

Currently, it is still possible to do online sports betting at locally licensed betting sites. Due to the announced halt to renew licenses, it is unclear how much longer this will be an option. All the remaining sites are fully localized for the local market. Languages like Swahili and Luganda are commonly supported. 

As an alternative, players can also sign up for one of the international online casinos as the government does not actively investigate or ban such activities. Most Ugandans visit the English version of foreign-based websites. You can fully take advantage of international bonus offers and promotions

Gambling with Ugandan Shilling

Right now, it is still possible to play for Ugandan shilling at land-based casinos. It is also possible to place bets in the local currency at already licensed bookmakers. As previously stated, it is unclear how much longer these establishments are legally allowed to operate, so things might change in the near future. 

Foreign-based online casinos do not accept Ugandan shilling for the most part. Usually, it is the best option to select US dollars or euros as your chosen currency when signing up for a new account. You can still make deposits and withdrawal with your regular credit card. However, please keep in mind that you will be charged a small currency conversion fee when doing so. 

Casinos in Uganda 

In spite of the recent annulments of the government, Uganda still has many licensed and fully operating casinos. Some of the licenses remain valid for a relatively long time. This means one can enjoy casino games for a little longer. If land-based casinos will be affected by the licensing halt is still unclear. Most of the popular casinos are situated in the Kampala area. The best options include the Casino Simba inside the Garden City Mall complex in Kampala, the Star Casino & Hotel Kampala, the Sunset Casino Kampala, the Mayfair Casino, and Club Kampala, the Kings Casino Kampala, the Venetian Casino & Bar Kampala, and the Nile View Casino in Jinja. As previously stated some local bookmakers are still operating online. International Online casinos that do accept players from Uganda are commonly regulated and located in Curaçao, Anjouan, and Costa Rica, for example.

  • A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

    Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.

  • If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

    Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.

  • The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

    The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.

  • An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

    Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.

  • The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

    The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.