While gambling is still restricted in many parts of Africa, the republic of Ghana permits both land-based and online casinos, as well other forms of betting, and shares similar regulations to those in the United Kingdom.
Just like in the United Kingdom, the online gambling industry is growing in Ghana at a fast rate, with many large international casino brands as well as Ghanaian based gambling businesses. Here we look at how online gambling is regulated in both countries and how their gambling scenes compare with one another:
Legalities and regulation of online and offline gambling
The 1960 Lotteries and Betting Act was the principal legislation for gambling in Ghana until it was replaced by the 2006 Gaming Act, which legalised online gambling too. Land based casinos and bookmakers have been operating in Ghana for many years and many of those that visit these venues now enjoy gaming and betting online also.
Following the passing of the 2006 Gaming Act, the Gaming Commission of Ghana was set up. The commission is responsible for issuing licences to gaming operators and ensures those running gambling promotions do so responsibly. They also carry out inspections of gambling premises and generate revenue through charging operators’ levies.
In the United Kingdom, all forms of online gambling and land based casinos and bookmakers are also legal and regulated. Like Ghana, the legal minimum gambling age is 18 and operators must obtain a licence from the UK Gambling Commission.
The first gambling regulations were also introduced in the UK in 1960, the Gambling Act of 2005 and the Act of 2014 have provided updates and permit online casinos and sports betting sites.
In both countries, both residents and tourists are able to enjoy all forms of gambling activities.
How Popular Is Online Gambling?
One of the biggest and fastest online gambling sectors in Ghana is the online sports betting market, this compares with other sub-Saharan African countries where gambling is legalised, such as South Africa and Kenya.
Online gambling revenues in Ghana could reach as high as 547 Ghanaian Cedi in 2023, with the online sports betting market making up 298 GHS of this.
It has been estimated that over the next five years, the African gambling industry will grow by at least 12 percent. The online mobile market is driving this trend with most online gambling activities now taking place on mobile devices.
Increased accessibility and usage of smartphones in Ghana has enabled the industry to grow, with estimates indicating smartphone ownership for Ghanaian adults (16 - 64 yrs) is now at 98.7 percent.
Furthermore, a number of the top international online gambling operators have expanded their businesses to operate in Ghana and reach Ghanaian players. While players could access a small selection of Ghana based and owned gambling sites, these offer much less game variety and choice than large international brands with far more resources at their disposal.
By comparison, in the United Kingdom the remote casino, betting and bingo sector is worth an estimated £6.4 billion. The sector is dominated by online casino games, which bring in revenues of £3.9 billion, followed by remote betting at £2.4 billion.
Smartphone penetration rates are equally high in the United Kingdom and most online players enjoy gambling from their smartphones through apps and in-browser websites.
The future of online gambling in Ghana and the United Kingdom
So, what can we expect from Ghana’s online gambling market in the years ahead? For starters, Ghana has one of the fastest growing economies on the African continent and as GDP increases, we can expect players to have more cash for hobbies such as casino gaming.
Also, as the reliability and speed of internet connection improves in the country and begins to reach more rural areas, we can expect accessibility to online gambling to increase. More international operators are likely to seek appropriate licensing in Ghana and roll out more of their offering to players within the country’s borders.
In the UK, internet accessibility is generally very good already but as connections continue to improve and 5G becomes more accessible we will see players able to access high-quality online casino games in more locations, including public transport and outdoor spaces.
Ghana has a younger population than the UK and as the youngest generation become adults, there will be more of the population of legal gambling age. In both countries, more people are seeking at-home entertainment and online gambling sites are just one option.
Overall, while the United Kingdom and Ghana are at different stages of economic development, both have large and rapidly growing online gambling industries. We can expect both to continue to thrive is the years ahead