Gambling is hardly a new phenomenon in Africa, but it has become even more prominent in recent times.
Many nations on the continent have been experiencing sharp spikes in gambling activities over the last few years.
These spikes can be attributed to the rapidly improving technology; and the consequent improvement in mobile penetration, internet accessibility and financial inclusion.
These three factors have propagated the growth of online sports betting and online casinos. The fact that people can easily access gambling sites on their smartphones and tablets has naturally resulted in a sharp rise in gambling activities.
But where does Ghana figure in this ever-thriving industry?
At the forefront of gambling in Africa is South Africa. Boasting a stronger economy than many nations in the region, South Africa has always been a hot spot for gambling.
In fact, it is estimated that about 80% of gambling in Africa occurs in the country!
Unlike many other sub-Saharan countries, which are mostly into sports betting, South Africa has a rich casino culture. South African law allows for over 40 land-based casinos.
The country forms part of the “Big Three” in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria and Kenya being the other nations in that elite group.
With a population of over 200 million people and an infectious passion for football, Nigeria was always destined to be a favourite spot for gambling operators.
As is the case in most west African countries, the gambling industry in Nigeria is hinged on sports betting, especially football betting.
The country is yet to truly adopt the concept of casinos (whether land-based or online), but that is bound to happen at some point in the future.
If the most populous black nation in the world can warm up to casinos in the same way that it has to sports betting, it could well be giving the South Africans a good run for their money in the race for the top gambling nation in Africa!
Earlier in this article, we made reference to the improving technology in Africa, and at the heart of this technological drive is Kenya.
No wonder their gambling industry is thriving! Mobile phones have become very prevalent, the internet is good, fast and accessible, while financial inclusion is right up there with the very best in the continent.
Below the Big Three of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya is another group of countries looking to make their way up the gambling table.
This group includes countries like Uganda, Tanzania, and of course, group leaders, Ghana!
Often regarded as the best of the rest in sub-Saharan Africa, the Ghanaian gambling industry is considered one of the fastest-growing in the world.
Ghana is very much on the upward trend when it comes to mobile penetration, and that has contributed immensely to the rise in gambling. The mobile money surge in the country has also played a huge role in the increasing online gambling rates.
Most top betting sites in Ghana now have MTN, Vodafone and Airtel Tigo as part of its deposit and withdrawal methods.
With people able to pay into and withdraw money from betting sites without any hassles, online betting has become extremely easy and attractive.
The Ghanaian market may not be as large as its counterparts in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria, but it is definitely on the rise and will only keep getting bigger in the coming years.