The authorities of Uzbekistan announced that the country is ready to start the sports game industry, after gambling houses were authorized from 2021, through a presidential decree that was published on December 6 authorizing this activity.
With the funds raised by sports betting, the government hopes to finance the development of sports programs, mainly in football.
In a recently signed decree, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev set out the goals that the government hoped to achieve with sports betting.
Among them is the development of the football program to make it more attractive for fans and investors. The government also hopes to open children’s sports schools and introduce video assistant referees in the national league matches.
The legalization of the game in Uzbekistan has been requested for some time and many officials have shown themselves in favor of this initiative, which they consider an ideal way to raise funds to be allocated to social programs.
Raising money to finance the sport is the main objective of the plan but what is sought in the background is to improve Uzbek football. As it appears in the framework of the decree signed by the president whose validity will be extended until 2030.
After its independence, Uzbekistan has never managed to qualify for a Soccer World Cup. In the last six qualifiers, the team has finished as an outsider, including 2018 when the Uzbek team fell “humiliating” in the 4-2 qualifiers (they say) to the North Korean national team. The team was fourth in qualifiers which left it abroad.
More recently, in the Asian Cup, Uzbekistan had a better 7-0-1 performance, however, it finished in box 10 in the tournament and reached the Round of 16 before falling eliminated.
Perhaps it is these results that have led government authorities to discuss and support this initiative. The government of Uzbekistan considers the game as an important source of tax revenue but at the same time wants to see its national team stand out in international meetings.
It is possible that for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, additional revenue from the game may not be available in time to see significant team progress. But perhaps for the 2026 World Cup to be played in North America, the team has a better perspective. Even before in the 2023 Asian Cup in China, the national team may have already made significant progress.