As one of the most liberal countries in Africa in terms of regulation, the casino industry within Ghana’s borders is already vast. With a young population and an increasingly online infrastructure, the different arms of this industry appeared poised for inevitable growth. From what is already a developed starting point, what could be next for the coming generations of the Ghanaian casino sectors?
The Current State of Ghana’s Casinos
In its current state, Ghana’s gambling regulations operate under the sole purview of the Ghana Game Commission (GGC). The GGC oversees both offline and online casino regulation, with the most recent set of laws derived from the Game Act 721 which was signed in 2006. While land-based casinos existed before this act following laws set in 1960, online casinos operated within a legally nebulous grey area.
As it exists now, an enormous proportion of Ghana’s adult population engages in some form of licensed gambling. According to e-Play Africa, around 45% of adults partake in casino gambling, though the proportion of online to offline engagement is currently unknown.
In land-based casinos, most engagement comes from the regular fare of slots, cards, and table games such as roulette. The majority of these exist in Accra, where six full-featured casinos currently find their home. Outside of the capital, other casinos can usually be found in any other of Ghana’s major cities.
For the online space, digital casinos are also popular in urban centers. As with their offline cousins, these casinos tend to exceed in their offerings of slots primarily, though the table and card games also perform well. This is especially the case with more competitive games like poker, which boast increased connectivity in the online arena.
Driving Ghanaian Casino Popularity
The popularity of casino games in Ghana is owed to multiple factors, the first of which is their relatively recent liberalization. From here, a combination of technological and economic factors each play a part in what is now a robust entertainment sector.
Physical casinos in Ghana owe a large part of their success to the growing tourism market. In 1996, Ghana received around 300,000 international visitors a year. Due to increased investment in tourism-related infrastructure, this number has risen to upwards of 800,000 annually in the last few years. Casinos are a major beneficiary of this investment on an international scale, while their general improvements also pull in more local players.
This is aided by Ghana’s recent evolution into a middle-income country. Itself the result of the discovery of major offshore oil reserves, the economic boost which has resulted from this development led to contributions to many related sectors in Ghana’s infrastructure.
In the online casino market, the most significant driver of popularity has to come from faster internet and better internet connectivity. According to a 2019 study, Ghana rated 8th in Africa for the fastest mean download speeds. Combined with higher rates of adoption, this has led to greater involvement within online casinos.
Though these speeds have increased involvement with all forms of online engagement, online casinos have seen some of the most profound growth. This is likely because of the low requirements which services like the 888 online casino require.
In 2019, the average internet download speed in Ghana was 3.2 Mbps, fast for Africa, but slow for the rest of the world. Yet online casino titles like slots and even live casino games, which involve a streaming dynamic, have very low data requirements. Combine this vast library aspect with specials like daily jackpot and welcome bonuses, and the online environment for casinos excels among other entertainment alternatives.
The Next Step
The next few years for casino gaming in Ghana are likely to continue among already established lines, though there are a few variables that remain in question. Of the most likely is the continued improvement of wired internet, which should see better speed and availability. Rural environments in particular are likely to open online casinos to a new audience, given the rarity of physical establishments in these areas.
The other side of this comes from improvements in smartphone adoption and mobile internet coverage. Though Ghana already has a high adoption rate of 55% for mobile devices, lowering prices and better 4G internet coverage could raise connection numbers considerably.
Further contributing to a coming shift is likely to be the cultural changes that come about with younger generations. Ghana’s population skews young, and given how the twenty-somethings of any country tend to be more technologically inclined, this could signal greater adoption of online casino technology.
On a global scale, greater involvement among the interested youth could also drive more international online casinos to reach into Ghana. As it stands now, obtaining licenses for countries like Ghana can be dismissed as a poor return on investment, but with greater player numbers, this conclusion could be lessened. Greater player numbers might also lead to more local developers of online casinos. These would have significant economic benefits in terms of employment and tax, so might also prove a positive way forward.
For physical casinos, expansion is similarly likely to occur, though perhaps on a smaller scale. This could depend on Ghana’s fate as a tourism destination, though more involvement from the youth and better economic success all-around is still likely to indicate consistent expansion. In general, a wealthier population means more money to spend on entertainment, making maintaining current momentum all but guaranteed until at least 2030.
The result of both the online and offline sides of casino development is that involvement within all parts of the casino world should be much easier for both creators and players. Already working within a solid legal framework, new individuals and businesses getting started in the casino marketplace have an established path forward.
Working off of models already set by the international community also means that newcomers have significant existing examples from which to draw. As for how far these forms of development could go, that much remains to be seen. With the online casino industry especially yet to plateau in popularity in any involved nation, there’s no telling the upper limits of what more casino involvement in Ghana might bring.