Ghana, officially known as the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It was under British rule for quite a while until it gained its independence in 1957. Today, Ghana is one of the few African countries that have legalized gambling, with the country regulating both land-based and online casino activities.
Since a large portion of Ghana’s population is in the age group between 19 and 34, it comes as no surprise that one of the youth’s favorite pastimes – gambling – is a well-developed industry in the country. With Ghana regulating land-based gambling activities, it offers a large number of casinos where players can enjoy games like slots, classic table games, and poker.
Often named as one of the most liberal countries in Africa, Ghana is offering both locals and tourists a vast variety of gambling activities. Just in the capital of the country, Accra, one could find six different land-based casinos, with the one in Piccadilly being the top destination for numerous casino enthusiasts.
While gambling can be viewed as a great way to boost the Ghanaian economy, the increasing popularity of casinos and sportsbooks may impose a new set of issues for residents of the African country. Many believe that this industry requires harsher regulations, ensuring a safer gambling environment for those suffering from gambling-related harms.
Nevertheless, gambling remains a legal and regulated sector in Ghana, with the country ranking among the top contributors to Africa’s economic growth. If you are wondering how gambling is regulated in Ghana, we suggest you continue reading as we will cover the main laws that provide the legal guidelines for gambling in the African country.
History of Gambling in Ghana
Gambling in Ghana can be traced back more than half a century ago, with the industry being regulated thanks to several important pieces of legislation. The first brick-and-mortar casino in Ghana launched in 2003, offering guests of La Palm Royal Beach Hotel to enjoy a great time at the hotel’s gambling facility – La Palm Casino. Several other casinos also launched across the country, offering Ghanaians a great gaming experience.
The casinos that have been authorized to operate in Ghana are regulated by the local Gaming Commission. It is under the same body’s remit to license brick-and-mortar casino operators, supervise the activities they offer, and regulate their operations.
The lottery is also legal in Ghana, with the activity being introduced by the Department ofNational Lotteries in 1958. The said authority is responsible for the organization and distribution of raffle tickets among citizens of Ghana. A Lotto and Betting Act was enacted in 1960, allowing lotteries as a means of boosting Ghana’s economy thanks to the revenue collected through lottery taxes. The first draw for the Fixed Odds Lottery in Ghana was held on September 29, 1962.
Throughout the years, the lottery law went through several amendments introducing the National Lottery Commission through the National Lotto Act 722. In 1979, the manual coupons that players were purchasing were replaced by mechanized cards that give players the chance to pick numbers themselves instead of playing with randomly selected combinations. Nowadays, one can participate in the lottery even online, selecting numbers through electronic tickets.
Sports betting is also legal in Ghana, with this form of gambling actually ranking as the most popular wagering activity in the country. Sports betting was legalized in 2006 and quickly became a widely enjoyed activity in Ghana. The regulation of sports betting also falls under the remit of the Gambling Commission of Ghana.
Gambling Regulations in Ghana
Gambling in Ghana is regulated by three main pieces of legislation. These include the Lotteries Betting Act of 1960, the Casino Licensing Act, and the Gambling Machines Act of 1973. Under the current laws applicable in Ghana, all forms of gambling are legal and regulated in the African country. The authority responsible for the regulation of the whole gambling industry is the Ghana Gaming Commission (GGC). The only exception is the lottery which is overseen by the National Lottery Authority (NLA).
The GGC makes sure to conduct its duties in accordance with the regulations provided in the Gaming Act 721 which was enacted in 2006. Casino and sportsbook operators that wish to operate in Ghana must apply for a license from the GGC.
Gaming License Requirements and Fees in Ghana
1Operators Must Obtain a License
As already mentioned, to be able to offer casino or sports betting services in Ghana, operators must obtain a license from the Gaming Commission of Ghana (GGC). There are several requirements that need to be met to receive a license from the respective authority. To qualify for a GGC license, the operator must:
- Has a registered office that can be identified
- Obtain a service mark logo that has been registered with the registrar of Companies
- Meet the requirement for minimum stated capital of US$2,500,000 for casino operations, US$2,000,000 for sports betting, and US$1,500,000 for route operation
- Provide proof of tax registration after submitting a tax clearance certificate
- Be completely or partially Ghanaian owned
After operators meet the aforementioned requirements, they will be asked to provide a copy of their business proposal, details of sports betting services that will be provided, certificate of incorporation, certificate authorizing the operator to commence a business, shareholders agreement, and financial and marketing plan. It is possible that there might be additional requirements to fulfill but these can be viewed on the official website of the GGC.
The fees announced by the regulating authority will vary depending on the type of license an operator is trying to obtain. A gaming license for casino, sports betting, or route operations will cost respectively US$50,000, US$40,000, or US$30,000. The renewal of a casino, sports betting, or route operations license will impose a fee of respectively US$25,000, US$20,000, or US$15,000. The annual operational fee that must be paid for casino, sports betting, and route operations is respectively US$60,000, US$50,000, and US$5,000. Operators may also be subject to additional fees that they may see on the official websites of the GGC.
Ghana is one of the very few African countries that have legalized gambling in both land-based and online forms. The majority of the gambling activities are regulated according to the Gaming Act of 2006. When it comes to licensing casino and sports betting operations or overseeing their operations, such responsibilities fall under the remit of the Ghana Gaming Commission. While lotteries have also been legalized in Ghana, this sector is regulated by the National Lotto Act, with the National Lottery Authority being the body that oversees the operation of lottery games in Ghana.
While gambling is legal and regulated in Ghana, the local authorities are not very strict with the way these types of activities are being conducted within the country. Since there are no significant requirements for customer protection many players and bettors might end up risking their money and safety while playing at casinos and sportsbooks based in Ghana.
With the growing popularity of online gaming and sports betting, many Ghanaians resort to placing wagers online. Despite a number of virtual casinos being licensed by the GGC, however, these operators do not boast the best reputation of being the safest options to gamble online. While Ghana has legalized pretty much all forms of gambling, it definitely needs to work on its legislative system, ensuring better protection for Ghanaian players and bettors.