Can Gambling Bring Benefits in Africa?
Youth in the country of Ghana have become notorious for their participation in "sakawa," a type of cyber crime in which slick emails are sent to foreigners in hopes of scamming the gullible for money. Many poor, unemployed young people in this struggling country have come to view sakawa as a way to get the funds they need. The tide is turning away from criminal online activity in Ghana, however, as a new fad emerges: sports betting.
Instead of using the Internet for fraudulent purposes, many Ghanaian kids now use it to monitor sports statistics. They take this information with them to the gambling dens of Accra, Ghana's capital, and wager money on sports matches in hopes of earning much-needed money. Indeed, the process of obtaining money through sports betting is more convenient and less convoluted than the online swindling that is sakawa.
Proponents of sports gambling in Ghana say this new fad is a welcome departure from the criminal cyber activity that has given Ghanaian youth such a bad reputation. As an added bonus, increased sports betting may also provide a solution to the unemployment problems that plague the country.
Gambling in Ghana
Gambling is legal in Ghana, both online and on land. The country permits the operation of brick-and-mortar casinos, lotteries, online gaming, and sports betting. Ghanaian youth who participate in sports betting have no doubt seen their elders doing the same; the pastime is extremely popular in the African nation. Patrons at La Palm Casino in Accra, for example, have 24-hour access to computers on which they can place sports bets through the international sportsbook, Ladbrokes.com.
Premier Betting: Expanding in Ghana
Premier Betting is an online/on-land business that touts itself as Ghana's number one sports betting operation. The business operates in five different Ghana locations as well as 27 other African nations. Betting dens are packed daily with people who crowd around large flat screen televisions to monitor various games. Bettors who can't visit Premier locations in person can also wager money via mobile and the Internet. Tony Hill, the CEO at Premier Betting in Ghana, has said that he foresees significant expansion of the Premier Betting business throughout Ghana, as well as the entire continent of Africa.
A Variety of Betting Scenarios
Ghana's Premier Betting website encourages consumers to use their knowledge of football to "win cash today." Bettors can wager money not only on the outcome of sports matches, but also on the scores at other predetermined increments throughout the games. Three possible outcomes always exist in "normal" betting with Premier: the home team has more points, the away team has more points, or the points are tied.
Premier bettors can wager money on other game scenarios, too:
- Money can be wagered on whether a team will score more or less than a predetermined number of goals.
- Money can be wagered on a "handicap" bet in which the less-favored team is given a goal's head start.
- Money can be wagered on whether or not both teams score more than one goal.
When it comes to Premier, numerous possible betting scenarios exist, making the business all the more alluring and lucrative for patrons.
Virtual Dog and Horse Races
In addition to sports matches, Premier also accepts bids on virtual dog and horse races. Many types of bets exist, including "win," "place," and "show." Two other interesting options are "quinella," in which the bettor must accurately predict first and second place winners in no particular order, and "exacta," in which the bettor must accurately predict first and second place winners in their precise order.
Like Premier, Safaribet is a sportsbook in Ghana. Safaribet came to Accra last spring and has already established itself as an exciting opportunity for Ghanaians to wager and earn money betting on sports. Patrons use Safaribet to bet on the outcomes of soccer, baseball, rugby, tennis, and a host of other games. Bettors can set up their wagers online at safaribet.com or go in person to a Safaribet branch. Mr. Halit Karabashaglu, CEO of Africa Gaming & Entertainment Limited, said he hopes Safaribet will provide both entertainment and employment opportunities to Ghanaians.
Safaribet: Job Opportunities in Ghana
After operating for only six months in Accra, Safaribet has opened four shops which employ 140 people. The company projects that, within the next several years, it will employ thousands of citizens as it opens more betting shops.
Mybet.com to Promote Ghana Football Leagues
Mybet.com is a popular sports betting website with a Ghanaian chapter that claims to be "not rivaled by any other betting company in Ghana," according to its Facebook page. Kwaku Ohemeng Adjei, CEO of the company, hopes the growing popularity of his business will help promote local Ghana football leagues. Ghanaian sports bettors currently prefer to wager their money on European matches, but Adjei projects that the popularity of his business will rekindle the community's interest in local football.
Also on the horizon is the exciting possibility that Mybet.com will one day take bets on non-sports issues like political elections. An expansion like this would likely stimulate the gambling economy in Ghana, as well as its employment rate.
Ghana has struggled for years with issues related to poverty, unemployment, and crime. Restless youth in the country have resorted to illegal Internet activity to fill their time, as well as their pocketbooks. Today, the growing popularity of sports betting in the country may provide a light at the end of the tunnel. Through companies like Premier Betting, Safaribet, and Mybet.com, citizens are able to earn some money through sports gambling, which is legal in the country. If the industry continues to grow as predicted, more jobs will be created and the African gambling panorama will become a very important resource to boost the local economy.