Kampala, Uganda, September 26, 2023: The Uganda Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board of Uganda (LGRB) yesterday convened a meeting in Kampala at the headquarters of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). Mr. Denis Mudene, CEO of the Gaming Board Uganda, Mr. John Musinguzi Rujoki, Commissioner General of URA, and other executives in their various capacities were in attendance. Central Monitoring System Uganda iGaming Uganda Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board
Essential gaming sector issues were addressed at the quite productive meeting between the gaming executives and tax officials. The forum encouraged a fruitful and open exchange of ideas between the governing body and the operators.
During the meeting, the following important items from the agenda were discussed:
One of the key concerns raised involved urging the URA and the Gaming Board to work alongside legislators to revise the Withholding Tax (WHT) policy. The suggested amendment aims to exempt the stake from being subject to WHT on customer winnings and apply the tax only to the actual amount won by the customer.
Furthermore, some operators have proposed eliminating the WHT entirely and instead incorporating a minor percentage increase onto the Betting Tax, as was done with the Gaming Tax. However, there are those who argue that the best solution is to abolish the WHT altogether, without any corresponding increase in the Betting Tax.
In addition, the Operators urged the Gaming Board to team up with the Bank of Uganda and the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) of Uganda to address the concerns surrounding the Anti Money Laundering (AML) Act. They argue that the Act has resulted in their exclusion from major tier 1 and tier 2 Banks, which they view as unwarranted in certain instances and detrimental to their operations as Bank accounts get frozen, unfrozen, or banned.
Gaming and Lotteries Regulatory Board (LGRB) Statement:
The CEO stressed the importance of iGaming Operators providing accurate API integration documents for the central monitoring system. This will simplify tax collections through real-time tracking. He cautioned that licenses for the upcoming year will not be renewed for those who fail to integrate by year-end.
Furthermore, Mr. Denis Mudene (LGRB’s CEO) informed operators that amendments addressing their concerns were being prepared, and they would be invited to provide input before presentation to parliament.
One of the amendments that stood out was the proposal to extend the license timeline from 1 year to 5 years, requiring operators to fulfill tax and compliance obligations annually. Additionally, the Compliance Manager of LGRB addressed the pervasiveness of the AML Act and Uganda’s position on the grey list as contributing factors to the exclusion of gambling companies’ bank accounts, though she pledged to discuss with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to explore potential options for Tier 1 and 2 Banks to connect with the industry.
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)’s Remarks
The CG expressed gratitude towards the operators for their substantial contributions to the country’s development through taxes. He urged all iGaming Operators to integrate with the central monitoring system (CMS) to simplify tax collection and allow operators to focus on other operational developments instead of audits.
Additionally, the CG stressed the importance of utilizing the waiver on penalties for under-declaration of taxes or tax evasion. Known as “voluntary filing of taxes,” this new waiver automatically shields operators from any penalties accrued on taxes defaulted for under-declaration or tax evasion if investigations are conducted and wrongdoing is discovered.
During the presentation, Mr. Grace, the Ag. Manager Special Operations Gaming department for URA demonstrated key infographics outlining taxes collected and penalties imposed on companies following investigations in the previous year. He also discussed gaming tax rates, e-licensing, and revenue categories that operators must always declare. The presentation revealed that many operators were not declaring all revenues from their products.
Fig: Status of Gaming Taxes for Uganda FYI
|Withholding Tax- Betting||15%|
|Withholding Tax – Gaming||0|
|Withholding Tax – Local supplies||6%|
|Withholding Tax- International Payments||15%|
|VAT – on imported services||18%|
Source: Genius Gaming Consult Central Monitoring System Uganda iGaming Uganda Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board