The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry across the world and contributes significantly to productivity and revenue generation in many economies. The industry has had a strong presence in the African continent for quite a while now. The extent of gambling and the laws regulating it has differed in different countries. Some African countries do not have legislation in place that allow the setting up of online casinos; however, the legislation does not cover the players, which means players are free to play at online casinos by foreign operators as long as they are accepted there.
Thought nascent, the Ghanaian gambling industry is one of the fastest growing and liberal sectors in the West African sub region. The country hosts a number of gambling activities – Casinos, Lotteries, Sports betting, Promotional Gaming (Games of Chance), Scratch Cards and bingo.
In Ghana, gambling is fully legal and regulated by the Ghana Gaming Commission (GGC) and the National Lottery Authority in accordance with the Gaming Act 721 in 2006. The Ghanaian gaming industry was previously regulated under the Lotteries and Betting Act, 1960 (Act31), the Football Pools Authority Act 1961, (Act 78) the Gambling Machines Decree 1973 (NRCD 174) and Casino Licensing Decree 1975 (NRCD 320). Until the establishment of the Gaming Commission, the Ministry of the Interior had oversight responsibility for the regulation of Casinos and other games of chance.
With less than 10 licensed gambling houses in Ghana, the Casino industry is the least commercialized gambling activity in the country compared to Sport Betting and Lotteries. All the licensed Casinos are sited in the major cities of Ghana – Accra, Kumasi, and Tema. Although small by Las Vegas standards, Ghana is home to four major land based casinos, which are mostly open in the evenings.
The La Palm Casino, which opened in 2003, is located at the prestigious La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra. The casino opens at noon daily and is home to 57 slot machines and 6 electronic roulette terminals. There are 5 traditional table games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker tables, and many sports betting booths with computers to place wagers on the Internet.
The second casino gambling establishment in the capital Accra is the Millionaires Casino, which is situated in the Golden Tulip Hotel. The casino is open daily from 8pm and is home to around 50 gaming machines, blackjack and roulette tables, and 2 poker tables.
There is another Millionaires Casino sited within the complex of Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi, which is the third casino gambling to be established in the country. It opens daily at 3pm and offers jackpot slots, video poker machines and table games.
The Golden Dragon Casino in Tema, is Ghana’s fourth casino. It’s located within the Prince Hotel and opens at noon daily. At Golden Dragon Casino gamblers can choose from a selection of 38 coinless video slot machines to play, including progressive jackpot slots, as well as 8 gaming tables offering American Roulette, Blackjack, 3 Card Poker and Casino Hold’em among others.
Gambling at online casinos is perfectly legal in Ghana, although not that many Ghanaians gamble on the Internet due to the lack of affordability of computers and internet access. There are many Ghanaian and foreign casinos that have been issued an online gaming license by the Gaming Commission to operate in Ghana.
Internet usage in Ghana is rapidly increasing, and more and more Ghanaians are gaining internet access. In 2009, it was estimated there were around a million internet users in the country. This has skyrocketed to around 4 million users, offering more Ghanaians the opportunity to participate in online casino gambling and sports betting to create an additional income.
Currently, there are over 320 online casinos – both local and foreign offering online casino gambling opportunities to players from Ghana. Some of these casinos also have mobile versions that allow players to play their favourite casino games directly from their mobile device. Most of the players from Ghana prefer playing at the online casinos run by foreign operators because of the superior look, game range, and service they offered. Although the currency used in theses online gaming casinos is often in Dollars, Euros or Pounds, most online casinos accepts players from Ghana and offers many different types of casino and poker games, including all the popular video slots, table and poker games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha.