If you’re a punter and new to the Ghanaian betting scene, the first question you want to answer is the legal status of sports betting in Ghana.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Ghana?
Are you allowed to place bets in Ghana? Can you sign up on your favorite bookie and place a bet? Are there betting shops or brick-and-mortar casinos where you can walk in and flex your gambling muscle without any legal implications?
If these are some of the questions lingering in your mind when you landed on this article, then settle right here and let me let you in on whether sports betting is legal in Ghana. We’ll look at some of the laws to regulate online gambling in Ghana and everything else on the legality of sports betting. Let’s dive right in.
So, is it legal to Bet on Sports in Ghana?
Like all other types of gambling, sports betting is allowed in Ghana. Ghanaians can walk into one of the numerous legal brick-and-mortar sports betting facilities approved by the Ghana Gaming Commission to place bets on various international and local sporting events.
Apart from terrestrial betting at betting shops and the few walk-in casinos in Ghana, punters also love placing bets on online bookmakers, which are also legal. With the recent upsurge of affordable internet connectivity and cheap smartphone usage in Ghana, there has been an increase in online sports betting activities. This brought the need to regulate the influx of offshore and local online betting companies by the Ghana Gaming Commission.
But is this the first time there was a need for legislation and regulation of gambling activities in Ghana? Certainly not! Gambling and lottery activities existed in Ghana long before the digital age that gave birth to online sports betting. Let’s look at the legislative history of sports betting in Ghana.
Legislative History of Sports Betting
Legislation of sports betting in Ghana dates back to the 1960s when the Lotteries Betting Act of 1960 was enacted. This is the bill that allowed betting on sports events in Ghana. After the bill that opened the way for sports betting, lawmakers passed two more legislative laws; the Gambling Machines Act of 1973 and the Casio Licensing Act of 1975.
Since then, no gambling law was passed until recently in 2006 when The Gaming Act was passed to legalize online sports betting in Ghana. The same bill established the Ghana Gaming Commission as the watchdog to oversee the regulation and license all online and terrestrial sports betting activities. Domestic and foreign gaming companies set up shop in Ghana with little government control.
There are no legal rules for responsible gambling in Ghana, and there are no measures for self-exclusion. Companies do not have to worry about being legally obligated to defend the bettor's interests; therefore, bettors must wager at their own risk.
With no existing regulation addressing the fast-evolving digital world of sports betting, online gambling is the least regulated type in Ghana. Furthermore, no legislation in Ghana restricts how and where companies can advertise their sportsbooks.
Sports Betting Today in Ghana
As mentioned earlier, more Ghanaians continue to sign up at the local and offshore betting companies that have set foot in the country. It’s estimated that at least 20 bookmakers in Ghana are permitted to offer sports betting activities to Ghanaians. The Ghanaian watchdog, GGC, requires every bettor to be at least 18 years to participate in any form of betting activity.
In a past event in 2021, the GGC Public Affairs Manager, Ms. Beatrice Baiden, called for the collaboration between the Administrative police and the District Assemblies to ensure players engage in responsible gambling throughout the country. This was in a bid to reduce and ultimately stop underage sports betting through a collaborative effort to sanitize the betting industry.
She also cautioned that betting services providers should observe the rules to ensure that their members engage only in responsible gambling. Those who breach the laws would face punitive action, including revoking their licenses.
Sports betting is a thriving business and a popular pastime activity in Ghana. But the government is not entirely asleep on the issue, and there’s a keen oversight over the betting activities in Ghana.
So, though betting is legal by law in Ghana, it’s the collective responsibility of the Ghanaian people and the betting service providers in the country to abide by the set rules and regulations if the situation is to remain the same.