Kabale Indefinitely Bans Slot Machines

2256 Views Kabale, Western Region, Uganda

In short
A decision by the leadership of Kabale district to slap an indefinite ban on the use of slot machines in the district has angered the business community who say it is hurting their businesses.

A decision by the leadership of Kabale district to slap an indefinite ban on the use of slot machines in the district has angered the business community who say it is hurting their businesses.
Kabale district has hundreds of slot machines positioned outside busy shops, bars, and other public places.
The ban on the machines follows reports to the district security committee that they attract idle underage residents. Anyone with 500 shillings is welcome to use the slot machines.
In March 2015, the Kabale district security committee had ordered for the arrest of betting house staff for allowing underage youth to access the houses to gamble.
Authorities reasoned that some youth had become so addicted to gambling, they had started to engage in petty crime to sustain their habit.
Four out of every 10 cases of drug abuse or trafficking reported at Kabale central police involve minors who are lured by adults with promises of giving them money for gambling.
An order for the arrest of adults implicated with aiding minors to gamble did not yield results prompting the district to slap a ban on the machines at the end of June 2016.
The decision has, however, displeased many in the business community.
Keith Mugume, a businessman in Kigongi, says that he had made arrangements with some Indian investors to install the machine next to his bar to increase his earnings. 
He says since nobody is compelled to use the machines, there is no need for a ban.
Sylvia Ayebazibwe a business woman in Kekubo, southern division-Kabale Municipality with a slot machine at her bar hopes the ban will be reversed.
She says the authorities should put in place clear guidelines on who should use the machines as well as monitoring their usage.
Cyril Katwesiime 17, has been a regular user of the machines. He says that he is hurt by the decision to ban the machines. He says he has been earning money for survival through the machines. He says his solo source of income has been taken away.
For Rubaya Sub county LC III chairperson, Enock Kazooba the decision is right.
Kazooba says he had observed that some men had started to steal money from their households to bet. This was causing family tensions and conflicts.
He says that he used to receive at least three cases every week the sub county related to theft of money used for betting.
Kabale district vice chairperson Bridget Tumwesigye told Uganda Radio Network that the ban was long overdue.
She says that the decision to ban the machines was taken after realizing their negative effect on the people in the district and only benefiting the owners.
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Tumwesigye says that some students were spending money meant for school fees on the machines.

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Kabale deputy resident district commissioner Denis Nzeirwe says the machines had become a great distract for the young in the district.


About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.