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Ghana is one of the West African countries that enjoy peace and stability. The country has a population of about 27 million, and the majority of the people are young. Her strong currency and thriving economy attract off-shore companies since the two aspects create a favorable business environment.
Over the last decade, the nation has heavily invested in communication infrastructure to provide its citizens with stable network connections. Good network connectivity and the increase in internet-enabled gadgets enable many to access mobile betting apps and wager on their preferred sports.
Today, Ghana’s betting industry is flourishing because current laws provide limited restrictions. This article gives you a deep insight into the country’s online gambling laws and how its liberal approach has attracted numerous betting providers.
In Ghana, the legal gambling age is 18 years, and bettors need to show proof of age before joining betting platforms. Some legal documents that one might use to show proof of age include the driving license, the national ID, and birth certificate.
However, the current laws do not outline any restrictions about the advertisement of bet-related content. Gambling providers are free to promote betting using any communication media at any time.
As a result, betting ads target the entire public, including minors, and gambling addiction is becoming a problem among the youth. The Ghanaian government needs to develop clear gambling content advertisement restrictions to coerce betting firms to behave responsibly and safeguard public interests.
There were no significant gambling activities among the native African communities during the colonial and pre-colonial eras. After independence, the country’s legislators enacted the Lotteries Betting Act of 1960. The lawmakers passed the legislation to help raise funds for improving community welfare. The lottery held its first draw, in 1962, raising funds for several infrastructure projects. Although the program was a success, most people were new to betting, and many didn’t see the importance of having lotteries.
In 1973, the legislators implemented the Gambling Machines Act that permitted table games and legalized gambling machines. The enforcement of the 1975 Casino Licensing Act gave the interior ministry the power to license casinos. However, the country’s betting industry did not attract investors, and people had to wait until 2003 when La Palm opened the first Land-based casino in Accra.
In 2006, Ghana’s politicians enacted the Gambling act in response to the increasing number of online gambling sites. The new gambling law legalized all forms of betting and saw the creation of the Gambling Commission of Ghana, whose mandate was to license gambling providers and regulate betting activities in the country.
However, the body does not fully discharge its duties since the current laws do not have clear restrictions for each gambling activity. Additionally, the 17.5% gaming tax is relatively low, and it has prompted all types of betting sites to flood the local market, putting bettors at risk.
The 2006 Gambling Act legalized online sports betting in Ghana. The country’s liberal approach to gambling attracted betting firms of all sizes. Today, numerous local and international gambling sites are operating in the country. The legislation also allows Gamblers to wager on any sporting activity.
The scary part is that the law does not coerce the platforms to foster responsible betting, and it does not protect the public from suspicious websites. As a result, bettors have to go the extra mile and validate if a betting site is authentic before signing up.
After independence, Ghana did not have any gambling licensing body, and it was illegal to set up or operate a casino. In 1973, the parliament enacted the Gambling Machines Decree and paved the way for Land-based gaming.
In 1975, the country’s legislators also passed the Casino Licensing Decree, which laid strict measures to regulate gambling. The advent of the internet led to new technologies that motivated developers to create web-based gambling platforms. Online casinos first emerged in the West, then spread to other parts of the world.
However, Ghana needed new regulations to keep up with the changing digital landscape. In 2006, the lawmakers passed the 2006 Gambling Act that gave land-based casinos more freedom.
Additionally, the legislation permitted Ghanaians to join online casinos and gamble. Nowadays, punters are free to visit online casinos and play various games of chance, including table games and slots.
Bingo is not considered a legal gambling game in Ghana since lawmakers did not include it in the land-based and online betting regulations. Several bingo providers are currently operating in the country, but as of December 2021, the authorities do not have clear guidelines to regulate bingo providers.
Additionally, Ghanaians can join any international bingo site without facing restrictions. Unfortunately, most platforms lure more youth to sign-up and play by rewarding their users with generous bingo bonuses.
Lawmakers did not include lotteries in the early gambling regulations. In 2006, the legislators implemented Act 722 that led to the establishment of the National Lottery Authority. The politicians viewed lotteries as a different form of gambling that needed proper regulations to protect the public interest. Today, Ghana’s lottos solicit funds to support initiatives that help solve various social problems.
Poker is quite popular in Ghana, and land-based betting establishments attract many gambling professionals. Like bingo, there are no laws to regulate poker games in the country. People can also join local and off-shore online poker sites and gamble. Punters can either play online poker or video poker.
Online poker involves playing against other players, while video poker pits gamblers against computers. Gambling enthusiasts use online poker sites to hone their skills and win big prizes, but the lack of proper regulation puts them at a greater risk of being scammed by illegal gaming sites.
James is responsible for the Ghanaian market on BettingGuide. He has a keen interest in sports betting and Gambling laws in particular. James is a Lawyer practising in East Africa, loves writing, and has a Law Degree from Makerere University, Uganda and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law, Kenya.