Leaders in Kyanamukaka Sub-county, Masaka District, have banned gambling following complaints that the vice is threatening security in the area and promoting laziness among the youth.
The leaders passed the resolution during a council sitting last Friday.
The council decision has, however, drawn public criticism with a section of residents arguing that the sub-county leadership should have regulated the gambling business rather than banning it.
Mr Paul Migadde, the sub-county chairperson, said they had received numerous complaints from parents that many school-going children dodge classes so as to go gambling.
Others, he said, have betted their school fees with the hope of reaping huge returns.
“Much as gambling slot machines have got labels excluding children below 18 years, the owners are too reluctant to observe this,” Mr Migadde told journalists after the meeting.
The council, however, allowed pool to be played but only in the afternoon, and strictly for adults.
Ms Milly Nampijja, a councillor representing Kijjampiki parish, wondered how government allowed the gambling business to operate in Uganda with all its hazardous effects, arguing that the district too should emulate them to save the future generation.
“As we are emphasising hard work and promoting honest living among our people, such actors (owners of gambling outlets), are frustrating out efforts with these distressing business,” she noted.
Efforts to get comments from operators of gambling business on the ban proved futile and some were instead harsh.
Kyanamukaka becomes the second local council to ban gambling after Lwengo District did the same last year. Lwengo District chairman, Mr George Mutabazi, argued then that sports betting had led to a rise in crime in the area as many youth had resorted to robbery to get money for gambling in sports betting outlets.
In the Budget for 201415, government introduced a 15 per cent tax on all money won in sports betting, but despite huge taxes, the gambling business is swiftly spreading to many areas.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor