Comparing the Online Betting Industries in Ghana and Nigeria

Ghana and Nigeria are pretty much rivals in almost everything! From football to jollof rice; the west African heavyweights always strife to outdo each other, with one set of compatriots convinced that they are better than the other side.

Nigerians believe that they are the better footballing country; possibly because they have been to more World Cups than Ghana, while the Black Stars will argue that they have gone deeper at the Mundial than the Super Eagles. Ghana were quarter finalists in 2010, when Luis Suarez’s handball and Asamoah Gyan’s infamous penalty miss denied the Stars a semi-final spot, while Nigeria have never been past the Round of 16 at the world’s biggest football tournament.

Which country has the biggest football stars? Is Abedi Pele greater than JayJay Okocha? Or is Nwankwo Kanu more successful than Michael Essien? These are the sorts of arguments that go long into the night whenever there is a gathering of Nigerians and Ghanaians!

One area where Nigeria does appear to have a clear upper-hand is in the online betting industry. From a global perspective, both nations are emerging betting nations, but Nigeria boasts a more robust and developed betting market than Ghana.

There are far more betting sites in Nigeria than in Ghana, while the overall worth of the Nigerian gambling market is significantly more than that in Ghana. Bookmakers in Nigeria also tend to offer more features than those in Ghana, with the best betting sites in Nigeria having unique functions like cut one and free data. Nigeria is rated as one of the top three gambling nations in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Kenya and South Africa, while Ghana is considered very much the best of the rest.

Given that the Ghanaian population is almost seven times less that the Nigerian population, it is perhaps unreasonable to expect Ghana to someday usurp its west African rival in this sector. Having said that, the Ghanaian market is constantly on the rise. Helped by improving mobile penetration, internet accessibility and financial inclusion, Ghana has made great strides in the global online betting industry and has become a big attraction for many top international players. There already exist many betting companies in Ghana, with more set to enter the market in the coming years.

While the Nigerian gambling market may be seen as the bigger brother of its Ghanaian sibling, both markets do share a number of similarities. Nigeria and Ghana have existing gambling laws, but they aren’t the best at enforcing these laws and regulating the online space. In Nigeria, the central regulatory body is the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, while the Gaming Commission of Ghana serves a similar purpose in Ghana.

These organizations are responsible for issuing sports betting licenses in their respective countries; but despite their best efforts, there remain quite a few unlicensed betting sites in the two nations. Hence, neither country is maximising the tax potential of the gambling industry.

If the authorities can get their acts together and properly manage the industries, there is a lot more that Nigeria and Ghana can tap and benefit from online betting.


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