Online gambling has become such a big deal in Ghana, with over half of the adult population in the country involved in one form of gambling or the other.
Most Ghanaian gamblers are into sports betting, with a smaller percentage opting for online casinos and lottery.
Ghana’s love for sports betting stems from the country’s passion for football, with other factors like mobile penetration and improved internet usage acting as catalysts.
However, the surge in gambling activities has created its own set of problems. Ghanaian youths now spend an awful lot of time on sports betting, to the point of addiction. This addiction then breeds mental and financial issues.
There is also the problem of under-age gambling, which continues to bedevil the industry.I
Online gambling does have its many positives, but are they currently being outweighed by the negatives? Should Ghana be more stringent with its gambling laws?
Ghana is one of the most liberal gambling nations in Africa, legally allowing several types of gambling.
The Ghanaian gambling industry is regulated by the Gaming Act of 2006, with the Gaming Commission tasked with overseeing the sector.
The Gaming Act spells out the rules of online gambling in Ghana, touching on aspects like licensing, payments, age restrictions and gambling advertisements.
The Gaming Commission was established to regulate the operations of games of chance in Ghana, with the exception of national lotteries. Games of chance include sports betting and casino games.
The lotteries are under the auspices of the National Lottery Authority (NLA).
Taking into account the fact that Ghana’s premier gambling law dates back to 2006, it is probably time for the lawmakers to look into the sector.
The industry has undergone significant changes between 2006 and now.
Back then, gambling was predominantly done in brick-and-mortar betting shops, but that is no longer the case.
Gambling has essentially gone online, with the majority of Ghanaian bettors betting on their mobile phones.
Unfortunately, the online space is not as regulated as its offline counterpart. This gives room for many unlicensed betting sites to offer their services to Ghanaian players.
Some of these sites engage in several malpractices. Ghana has to improve its gambling regulations to be able to identify and tackle these online offenders.
Also, Ghanaian authorities should make it an absolute must for betting operators to have responsible gambling sections on their sites.
This is already being practised by top bookies like betway, but more sites have to follow this example.
Such sections allow bettors to have greater control over their betting cravings. They are able to set gambling limits and self-exclude if they are spending too much time and money on gambling.
Another reason Ghana may want to look into her gambling laws is the chance to improve the revenue the country gets from gambling.
Online sports betting has become a huge multi-million-dollar business in Ghana, and the country should be getting more from the industry.
Hopefully, sooner rather than later, the government will do a thorough review of the gambling laws and make necessary adjustments and improvements.