Ghana’s casino industry is a vibrant one thanks to the country’s young population and increasing support for online access. The country is at a well-developed starting point and the future for this sector looks bright.
The Current Infrastructure
Gambling regulations currently operate under the exclusive scope of the Ghana Gaming Commission, which oversees regulation for both land-based and online casinos. The 2006 Game Act 721 is the basis for the laws as they stand at the present time.
As many as 45% of Ghanaians over the age of 18-years partake in some kind of licensed gambling, be it offline or on the internet. In land-based venues, the most popular choices of card games, table games like Roulette, and slots. Accra hosts the vast majority of land-based casinos offering these, with six full-fledged operations running as of 2021, but there are also locations within Kumasi and Thema.
Digital operators are also commonly found in urban centres, with the primary focus for these once again being slots, although card and table games are also popular. This is particularly true for more competitive, interactive games like poker, which allows for a deeper level of immersion online.
The Factors Driving Game Popularity
The relatively recent legalisation of casino games in Ghana is a large reason for the demand for them.
The emerging tourist market in this country is another important element. In 1996, around 300 000 international visitors came here annually, but this number has exceeded 800 000 more recently. This is thanks to an increase in investment in this sector and Ghana’s recent upgrade to a middle-income country. When important oil reserves were discovered offshore, the economy saw a massive boost and injected cashflow into a range of different industries.
In terms of online operators, the most important driver is faster internet and improved connectivity. A 2019 study revealed that Ghana ranked eighth on the continent in terms of download speeds, and this, when combined with higher adoption rates, has seen an increase in engagement with internet-based casinos.
In 2019, Ghanaians average internet download speed was 3.2 Mbps, on par with the rest of Africa, but lacking when compared to the rest of the globe. Surprisingly, both virtual online casino games and those featuring live dealers, which require streaming, have incredibly low data requirements. When this is taken into account with incentivising offers like huge progressive jackpots and generous welcome bonuses, it becomes clear why so many Ghanaians are logging in so often.
The Way Forward
Ghana will likely keep developing along the lines it has already established, although there are certain elements that remain unclear. With wired internet connections continuous improvement and the increase in availability and speed, rural audiences will be able to enjoy the same quality entertainment as their more urbane counterparts.
Ghana’s already high adoption rate for mobile devices, 55%, is also predicted to improve. Lower prices and better 4G coverage will no doubt see connection numbers rising year-on-year. Cultural shifts will also play a role here, with the younger generation being more willing to explore the technological landscape.
This generation will also be the cause of international operators seeking out Ghana. Getting a license to operate within these borders is not a particularly bright prospect right now, but more players mean more interest. This factor will also foster interest in local developers, and both will result in major economic benefits in terms of jobs and tax.
Physical casinos in the country will probably keep expanding as well, albeit to a lesser extent. The country’s desirability as a tourist destination will play a role, as will youth participation and the lay of the land economically speaking. A population with money to spend is a group looking for entertainment and this will drive the market until 2030 and beyond.