Time for Ghana to tighten its online betting policies


Ghana is one of the fastest-growing gambling nations in Africa, with online sports betting dominating the Ghanaian gambling industry.

The sharp growth in sports betting in Ghana has been a direct effect of improving digitization in the country. Due to increase in mobile penetration, more accessible internet connectivity, and better financial inclusion, more people can now access online betting sites like betway and place bets on their mobile devices.

When these technological advancements merge with Ghana’s strong youth population and natural affinity for football, the result is a surge in sports betting.

There is also the fallacious expectation of getting rich from sports betting, which continues to drive young Ghanaians in that direction.

The Ghanaian sports betting industry isn’t quite at the level of continental heavyweights, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, but the sector is always growing. Ghana is right up there among the second wave of sports betting nations in Africa.

Sports betting in Ghana is regulated by the Gaming Commission of Ghana, established under the Gaming Act 721. This Act legalizes all forms of games of chance, except lotteries. The lottery in Ghana is regulated by the National Lottery Authority (NLA).

Sports betting has become a multi-million-dollar industry all over the world. In countries where the industry is legalized and regulations are properly enforced, sports betting contributes immensely to job opportunities, tax revenue and general economic growth.

Ghana already makes decent money from sports betting companies. To obtain a sports betting license from the Gaming Commission of Ghana, an operator must pay a license fee of $40,000, while the annual operational fee is $50,000.

However, there is room for a lot more!

The Ghanaian government recently revealed that the country was losing an estimated GHS 300 million in potential annual revenue due to loose tax laws. Given the current trends, the industry is bound to generate even more money in the next few years.

This is the time for the government to strike before things spiral out of control.

There are currently over 20 betting companies in Ghana, and as word about Ghana’s gambling potentials spread around the world, more international operators will enter the country.

The Ghanaian government realizes the need for action, and has started making moves towards keeping the gambling money within the shores of the country.

During the presentation of the 2021 budget in March, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior were tasked with consulting with stakeholders and formulating regulations that will improve revenue mobilization from sports betting.

While the authorities seek new reforms, it is important that they do not get too aggressive with their laws, and make the atmosphere hostile for betting operators and punters.

This was the case in Kenya a few years ago when some of the biggest players in their gambling industry were forced to quit the country due to harsh tax laws.

As much as the Ghanaian government wants to make money from the blossoming gambling industry, and they are well within their rights to do so, they should also be mindful of not upsetting the main protagonists in the piece- the betting companies.

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