Ghana’s online betting industry has grown tremendously in recent years, with Ghana quickly becoming one of the hotbeds of sports betting in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Ghanaian gambling market still lags behind regional superpowers of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya; but the West African nation is arguably the best of the rest in the region.
There are now so many online betting sites in Ghana, and more than half of the country’s adult population is believed to be actively involved in some gambling activity.
Unfortunately, the Ghanaian authorities have not quite been able to keep up with the increasing rate of betting in the country.
The Ghana Gaming Commission is the body responsible for overseeing the Ghanaian gaming industry. The Commission has done a fairly decent job over the years, but it has its hands full in keeping the industry in check.
Cases of underage gambling are said to still exist, while unlicensed betting sites still offer their services to Ghanaian players.
With the Ghanaian government proposing a new electronic tax levy in the 2022 budget, some analysts have suggested it could stop the growing rate of online sports betting in the country.
But how true is this school of thought?
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, when presenting the 2022 budget in November, proposed a 1.75% levy on mobile money and other electronic transactions in Ghana.
“After much deliberation, the government decided to impose a tax on all electronic transactions in order to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This will be known as the Electronic Transaction Tax or e-Levy, ”the Minister said.
According to Ofori-Atta, these electronic transactions, referred to as informal economy transactions, have generated billions of cedis in recent years and have great potential to increase Ghana’s tax revenue.
In 2020, the total value of electronic transactions in Ghana was estimated at over GH ¢ 500 billion, while active mobile money users in Ghana increased by 16% between 2016 and 2019.
Recently, Ghana Bankers Association President Patricia Sappor revealed that the value of mobile money transactions for the first four months of this year stands at GH ¢ 301.1 billion while that of Check transactions over the same period amounted to GH ¢ 68.3. billion.
Madam Sappor said this during her speech at the 25th National Bank conference in Accra on “Ghana’s digital economy, the strategic role of the banking sector” on Thursday, November 18th.
She said, “The value of mobile money transactions for the first four months of this year was GH ¢ 301.1 billion while that of check transactions during the same period rose. to GH ¢ 68.3 billion.
“If the trend continues, which I think the total value of mobile money transactions will exceed check transactions by well over the $ 389 billion recorded for all of 2020.”
Since mobile money is by far the most widely used payment method on online betting sites in Ghana, betting players have been paying close attention to new tax developments.
If the electronic debit becomes effective, it means that bettors will have to pay a direct debit of 1.75% for every mobile money deposit they make at their betting site.
Not surprisingly, many mobile money users did not like the news. In fact, there have been reports of a massive withdrawal of funds from mobile money accounts when the proposed tax was announced.
It is very likely that mobile money transactions will slow down for a while if e-direct debit goes into effect, but over time things will resume as usual.
The mobile money industry in Ghana has gone too far to be significantly impacted by the tax levy.
This is especially true for the online betting industry. Betting has become such an integral part of the Ghanaian way of life that it will take much more than a level of mobile money for the industry to experience a noticeable decline!