The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has cautioned the National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board (NLGRB) for failing to prepare a national register of gaming and betting machines.
Section 36 of the Lotteries and Gaming Act, 2015 provides that the Board shall establish and maintain, in the prescribed manner, a national register of every gaming or betting machine or gaming or betting device manufactured within or imported into Uganda.
However, since the commencement of the Act, the Board has never established or maintained a national register in compliance with the law.
While presenting findings of the committee on the Auditor General’s report of NLGRB for Financial Year 2021/2022, Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi (INDEP. Rukiga County) said the absence of a register of machines and equipment being used in the industry makes the process of monitoring and renewal of licences difficult.
“This exposes the industry players to risks of using inappropriate machinery and equipment,” Ndyomugyenyi said during Wednesday, 18 October 2023 plenary sitting.
During the committee probe, the accounting officer said that the process of establishing and maintaining a national register for gaming equipment and devices requires that the technical standards upon which testing of gaming equipment is premised be put in place first.
Apparently, the entity developed 14 technical standards and submitted the same to Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) for approval in 2021. However, to date, UNBS has not yet approved the standards despite numerous reminders.
“The committee recommends that UNBS reviews and approves the technical standards for licensing of machines and equipment within 30 days from the date of adoption of the Committee Report,” Ndyomugyenyi said.
COSASE also expressed concerns with the Minister of Finance for failing to prepare regulations for the implementation of the Lotteries and Gaming Act, 2015.
Among the regulations which have not yet been set up since 2015 include; the handling of complaints and determination of disputes, the disposal of unclaimed prizes, regulating the appointment and use of agents by a person licensed to conduct a lottery, and regulating the holding of a draw for a lottery.
“If the industry is not properly regulated, there is a risk of abuse by operators and it makes the implementation of responsible gaming difficult,” the report noted.
Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa directed that the Minister of Finance expeditiously prepares and tables pending regulations while Hon. Yusuf Mutembuli (NRM, Bunyole East County) insisted that the minister be given a timeframe of six months to present the regulations.