Ugandans Stand to Lose Over UGX 500 Million in Unlicensed Company’s Closure

Ugandans who have been betting with the blocked BLQ company, are on the verge of losing over 500 million shillings, as there is no mechanism for refund, and in any case, consideration of such decisions now awaits the conclusion of police investigations.  

The Nationals Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board-NLGRB, says that it is not clear when and how the Ugandans will receive their money since the matter is under investigation, whose findings and recommendations are not in their control.  

BLQ has been conducting betting activities in Uganda without a licence from NLGRB, since July this year, which is against the Ugandan laws, and this led to the closure of its operations. This leaves up to 500 million shillings of Ugandans at stake.  

According to Henry Musasizi, the state minister for general duties in the ministry of finance, before full closure of this company’s operations, they conducted investigations, as required by law, and followed all the required steps.

The minister adds that the board first engaged the company proprietors, but nothing changed, he adds that later they involved the CID, and the Financials Investigations Authority. According to Musaasizi, there are other companies which they are working to close very soon.

“It has come to out attention that many more companies such as are operating both physically and through online platforms asking Ugandans to invest huge sums of money with the promise of exceptional investment returns” the minister says.

Musaasizi says the refund procedure to Ugandans who had staked their money, is not yet established, since investigations into the matter are under way.

BLQ company, had introduced the reverse betting together with the recruitment for pay model, which is not familiar with the Ugandan betting systems and Dennis Ngabirano the NLGRB chief executive officer, qualifies this to be a Ponzi scheme which needed to be closed because the two are not compatible.  

By Ugandan laws, operating a betting without a license from NLGRB, is illegal and upon conviction, one is liable to a fine not exceeding 48 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both under section 67 of the lotteries and gaming act.

 According to Ngabirano, BLQ was disguised as a betting company yet, according to him, it was a fraud scheme, based on its operations, and the failure get licenced, which would have protected them from under such circumstances.

Information from NLGRB shows that BLQ, a Uganda registration services bureau registered company under a single director a one Mary Owori, was incorporated on 7th July, and in the same month, the CEO says they engaged the Uganda Communication Commission to close this company’s operations.

The CEO says that the board received a number of complainants from Uganda over the failure to withdrew their money from the platform and this prompted them. 

Ngabirano says that this company’s reverse betting system, is not yet approved in Uganda.

“Reverse betting is a form of betting that we have not yet approved in Uganda, but it’ i a system where the company predicts the outcome of a match, and  we are still studying the mechanics behind it this system, and ensuring that we are able to protect the citizens from being defrauded,” he says.

Approval of the betting form is not an easy, foreseeable step, as NLGRB is also yet to first install the integrated infrastructure required to monitor all forms of gaming and lotteries. Ngabirano, says they are to start with the online infrastructure in December this year.

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