With improving technology, better financial inclusion and liberal gambling laws, Ghana has had a surge in online sports betting in recent years.
Sports betting in sub-Saharan Africa has generally experienced a big boom over the last decade, with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya occupying the mantle of the “Big Three” in the region, but Ghana is definitely near the top of the next wave of gambling markets.
In fact, there is an argument that Ghana’s numbers are skewed by the country’s significantly lower population, relative to the big guns on the continent.
Nigeria boasts well over 100 million inhabitants; South Africa are around the 60 million mark, while East African giants Kenya have just over 50 million people.
The Ghanaian population is just a touch above 30 million.
Online betting in Ghana has benefited greatly from the technological advancements made by the country. Mobile penetration in Ghana is rising all the time, so is internet accessibility.
As at January 2021, there were 41.69 million mobile connections in Ghana, an increase of 8.1% from January of the previous year.
Also, the number of internet users in Ghana between January 2020 and January 2021 rose by 6.4% to 15.7 million. These numbers keep getting bigger year after year, pushing up the rates of related activities like sports betting.
According to Alexa, there are four betting sites on the list of 50 most visited sites in Ghana, with Betway leading the way at No. 8 in the overall rankings. SportyBet, 1xBet and PremierBet are the other sites in the top 50.
SEMrush data shows that Betway has almost 2 million monthly Google searches in Ghana.
Ghanaians are sports-loving people, with football being the No. 1 sport in the country. Hence, their growing affinity for online sports betting is only natural, especially given how convenient it has become.
Not only do more Ghanaians have access to smartphones and better internet, they can also make online payments without any hassles. Financial inclusion in Ghana has got a lot better in recent times, thanks mainly to the advent of mobile money.
With mobile money, many Ghanaians can now send and receive money online and carry out their transactions conveniently over the internet.
Like all businesses, money is the heartbeat of the sports betting business. If players cannot deposit money into betting sites, they will not be able to bet, and the operators won’t make money.
Unsurprisingly, many betting sites in Ghana have jumped on the mobile money bandwagon, with top sites like betway offering deposit methods like MTN, Airtel Tigo and Vodafone.
There are now over 20 betting sites and online casinos in Ghana, with more set to join in the coming months and years.
The online betting industry in Ghana has also been helped by relatively liberal gambling laws.
Online sports betting in Ghana is regulated by the Ghana Gaming Commission, established under the Gaming Act 721 in 2006.
With the exception of the lottery, which is regulated by the National Lottery Authority, the Commission is in charge of all forms of gambling in Ghana. Under the Gaming Act, sports betting and casinos are fully legal.
Ghana may not be at the levels of Kenya or local rivals, Nigeria but the country is definitely closing the gap and attracting more and more operators. Ghana is making a strong push to become the next big betting market in Africa.