Sports Betting Africa announced closure of all outlets across Uganda
Sports Betting Africa (SBA) has announced a decision to close down its shops across the country and operate online.
In a letter dated December 2, the SBA management cited an unfavorable tax environment, restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and excessive competition have made it impossible to operate virtual games, a core activity of their outlets.
They also cited the appearance of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant that has emerged from South Africa, anticipating it will likely spread and force a new set of restrictions that will add adverse conditions on already financially exhausted SBA.
“As a consequence, SBA is facing the heart-breaking decision of closing all its shops in Uganda. It is a very tough decision but we have reached a stage where it is only the wise decision to make,” the letter from management read in part.
Joel Omoding Atadan, the SBA Marketing Manager confirmed the development. However, he said the closure doesn’t mean they are completely closing down as they may redeem their operations once the Covid-19 situation in the country normalizes.
Omoding disclosed that SBA has at least 200 branches across major towns in the different regions of Uganda. The announcement has caused uncertainties among the employees who will be laid off. At least each outlet would employ between four and six staff.
Several other betting companies are equally struggling to remain in operation casting a dark cloud over employees’ job security.
Stephen Oluka, a staff of the Premier Bet branch in Ntinda says the trend of betting companies closing shops is worrying to the staff even at different companies.
Gideon Atuhaire, of Champion Bet, anticipates that most betting companies are considering shifting operations online because it is cheap and cost-effective, meaning more employees will be laid off if the Covid-19 situation does not normalize.
Another betting company that recently closed its operations in the country includes Top Bet.
The covid-19 restriction has regulated the time of operation of most betting companies, reducing the number of their clients yet the cost of rent, human resources, and utilities continue to bite.
According to the Uganda Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board, the government currently collects about 30 Billion Shillings annually in taxes from the games and lottery companies, and Ugandans spend over 150 billion shillings in Casinos, slot machines, lotteries, and betting annually.