Ghana’s sports betting booming growth, challenges, and controversies

Ghana’s sports betting market has grown in the past decade alone. The increase in smartphone ownership, improved internet accessibility, and significant advancements in financial inclusion are also among the top reasons.

Approximately 41.7% of Ghanaians have engaged in sports betting within the last 12 months, according to a report by TGM Research in late 2022. Of these bettors, 74.17% cited making money as their primary motivation. Over 95% of Ghanaian bettors prefer online betting to physical betting shops.

Ghanaians are also involved in various forms of gambling. These include lotteries, card games, poker machines, slot games, and online betting games.

Success stories like Fuseini from Kumasi got more Ghanaian players scrambling to find tips on how to win in the Aviator game. On November 27, 2023, Fuseini won a record-breaking $500,000 on the Aviator game. This win is the largest recorded since Spribe introduced the game in 2018.

Fuseini’s victory went viral due to its unique journey. A glitch in Fuseini’s smartphone allowed the game’s multiplier to reach unprecedented levels. This was the leading factor in his massive payout.

Betting market growth

Ghana is now considered one of the leading sports betting markets in sub-Saharan Africa despite a relatively minor population of just over 30 million. This is a small number compared to Nigeria’s 200 million, South Africa’s 60 million, and Kenya’s 50 million.

However, Ghana’s online sports betting market is projected to grow by 5.36% from 2024 to 2029. This means the market should reach a volume of $39.50 million by 2029.

One key trend in Ghana’s online sports betting market is the growing number of betting platforms and options available to customers. As market competition intensifies, betting companies are continuously innovating and expanding their offerings to attract and retain customers. This has led to the introduction of new betting features, such as live betting and virtual sports, which enhance the overall betting experience.

Another trend is the rising popularity of mobile betting. Mobile apps and mobile-friendly websites have made it easier for Ghanaians to place bets on their favorite sports events regardless of time and place. This trend is driven by the convenience and flexibility that mobile betting offers, which allows customers to stay engaged with their bets even on the go.

Their culture and love for football also influence Ghanaians’ betting trends. As the most popular sport in Ghana, love for the sport translates into a high demand for football betting. Betting companies have recognised this and tailored their offerings to cater to the local football fanbase.

The Gaming Commission of Ghana (GCG) has been busy regulating the influx of new gambling operators seeking to establish themselves in the country. The number of licensed operators has surpassed 30. Based on current trends, this figure could double in the next ten years.

New taxes and challenges

A new sports betting tax sparked an ongoing controversy across the nation by August 2023. The government introduced a 10% withholding tax on betting and lottery winnings. It is applied at the point of payout for all betting, games, and lottery wins. Exceptions are to be made in cases where the initial stake is refunded or the payout amount is equal to or less than the staked amount.

The regulation aims to enhance domestic tax revenue mobilisation and address the country’s economic challenges.

However, the tax has faced significant public backlash, especially among young people.

“I don’t see why the government would want to take 10% from the little I win, even when I may have lost so much prior to my win,”

– said Seth Twum, a 26-year-old player who has been betting for four years.

Experts have also criticised the tax, questioning its potential economic impact. Francis Timore Boi, a tax consultant, believes that the tax “may not really be a game changer” for the economy.

“Government needs a lot of money and betting tax alone cannot rescue [the] government from its needs,” – Boi says.


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