Gaming giants ForteBet unfazed by betting ban talk, continues community service in Teso region
SPORT | When the people smile and say ‘eyalama’ to a betting company, you know the recent talks of ban on sports betting in the country would be preposterous.
Such was the weekend in Teso districts of Bukedea, Soroti and Kumi when gaming giants Fortebet invested in corporate social responsibility that saw its staff rally citizens in cleaning towns.
It was a fun filled weekend as ForteBet gave back to the communities with hundreds of people receiving various rewards that included brand new phones, European club jerseys, T-shirts, caps, pens and wristbands.
ForteBet also donated reflector jackets to boda boda cyclists in Kumi and Soroti, leaving beneficiaries unable to contain their excitement as they said “eyalama.”
John Nanyumba, the ForteBet media manager, said the gifts bonanza was preceded by a clean-up exercise, where all Soroti ForteBet staff had to leave their offices to clean the entire Market Street on Saturday. During the exercise, ForteBet randomly gave out gifts.
“We want to sincerely say thank you to all of you for making ForteBet number one in the betting industry. This is the reason we shall keep coming to say thank you,” Nanyumba said while addressing punters at Soroti main centre.
The gaming giants also donated balls to youngsters in the three districts they engage in CSR at the weekend. One of the balls recipients was Soroti Eagles Soccer Academy.
“We have brought you these balls to help you promote your talents. Fortebet wants you to become like some of the celebrated football kings across the world like Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Denis Onyango, and many others,” Nanyumba told the youngsters.
Eyalama means ‘thank you’ in Ateso, the language of the Iteso, the ethnic group in eastern Uganda. On Saturday, many residents in the three districts were thankful to ForteBet for the gesture.
Ema Manase, the coach of Soroti Eagles Soccer Academy, said he was extremely happy for the donation [soccer balls].
“One of our biggest issues is balls, because we train a lot, so balls wear out fast. This gift is really timely,” Manase said.
A boda boda cyclist only identified as Johshi said he had received several jackets from other organisations in the past but none was of such good quality as the orange colour jacket he received on Saturday.
“My heart is smiling because I know the importance of this jacket, its a life saver,” he said.
ForteBet’s latest gesture comes fast on the heel of government announcing it would ban sports betting in the company with President Museveni, who gave the directive, indicating that gaming was “keeping youth from hard work.”
The plan, State minister for planning David Bahati said, was to stop licensing new betting companies and deny existing ones renewal once their licence expire.
However, within days of the announcement, the government changed the position and instead said it would not licence any more foreign-owned betting companies.
But activities of gaming companies led by ForteBet is surely to change this narrative, too, in the very near future. Any organisation that is capable to go down and engage in such CSR as ForteBet as been doing recently would attract the goodwill of the masses, and, in turn, that of the government.
Jude Masaba, who bakes chapatis along Market Street in Soroti, would obviously be sad if he heard that betting companies were being strained by government.
“I just want to appreciate Fortebet for making us clean. The road is cleaner than usual. We pray that you be doing this clean-up every week. I am happy today I am working in a very clean environment,” Masaba said.
His gratitude was also written allover the face of Julius Lacazette, who said he had won a gift for the first time from a betting company.
“Most amazingly, the first time I have won, I have won a big gift, a phone. I have a phone but this one is far superior. I am now going to be using this new one and give the old one to my girl friend,” the excited Lacazette said.