Sportpesa are considering expanding their wings to Kampala after an invitation by the Ugandan minister for Youth and Children Affair Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi.
Kiyingi went to Dar Es Saalam, Tanzania to watch Gor Mahia take on English Premier League side Everton in an international friendly match organised by Sportpesa and personally extend an invitation to the betting firm to extend their business Kampala.
“We are here to start the dialogue between Sportpesa and Uganda football to ensure that we participate in the East African League (The Sportpesa Super Cup) and also to ensure that Sportpesa comes to Uganda to invest in the Ugandan league,”said Kiyingi.
Just like in Kenya, the Ugandan parliament recently passed a bill of 35 per cent tax that is awaiting consent by the President.
This, she says, is not to raise money for the Uganda government, but to demotivate people from going into irresponsible gambling and gaming.
“So we are reversing the trend as the ministry responsible for young people. I have made it a point to look for people to invest in sports, give the youth employment. We can discuss on ways to reduce the interest in tax (for those investing in sports) so as to promote sports in general. This is why the government of Uganda is inviting Sportpesa to Kampala,’ she added.
“I take Sportpesa to be an investor and not really a business person. So we want them to come down to Uganda and together we look at the regulation further.”
“We are going to look at Sportpesa in isolation because it is coming with a heavy weight of promoting football, investing in academies, investing in young people, giving them employment. It is beyond betting, it is beyond gaming. So we are looking at the other side of investment and then we shall make sure that we down and dialogue,” explained Kiyingi.
Kiyingi said that if Sportpesa was to put the same amount of investment in football like in Kenya and Tanzania, then Uganda football will grow in leaps and bounds because what Uganda lacks now is adequate sponsors.
“The talent is there, the morale is there, the demand is overwhelming but what is missing is the capital injection in football in general and branding.”
If Sportpesa land in Uganda it will take nine months before they start operations as per the regulations.
All that might change as a delegation from Sportpesa head to Uganda this month for discussions with the Uganda government and if successful, they will meet with President Yoweri Museveni to fast track the process.
Kiyingi, who is also the chairperson of Express Football Club in Uganda, is hopeful that all will be concluded successfully before planning starts for the next Sportpesa Super Cup to be played in Kenya in June of 2017.