Ghana saw an upsurge in sport betting companies after its legalization and introduction of the gaming commission—a regulatory body of games of chance in the country in 2006.
In the early years of sports betting in Ghana, the companies operated in physical stores and were mostly situated in Accra. As the profit margin grew wider, operators expanded their reach to the various towns and cities across the country.
The interest in sports betting increased amongst the youth. The huge odds (returns) coupled with easy accessibility of betting centres sparked the interest.
On weekends and match-days, bet centres overflow with patrons, who either go there to watch football or bet on their favorite teams.
The popularity of sport betting escalated as most companies went digital. One didn't have to be physically present at a betting centre to place a bet. Betting applications were created by these companies and have been much more accessible to everyone.
SPORT BETTING, A PANACEA TO UNEMPLOYMENT?
Many low income earners and unemployed youth have resorted to sport betting for their "survival". Many believe the shortcut to riches is through sport betting. A lot of productive hours are spent by punters in calculating their predictions.
It is worth noting that sports betting, just like any other game of gambling is very addictive. The "I nearly made it syndrome" is the main motivator. It keeps the hope of punters high and pushes them to continuously invest.
Many young adults have refused to work because of sports betting. They are so addicted that the more they lose, the more they keep betting.
It should be noted however, that, sports betting is not a career/ job and cannot solve the problem of unemployment as has been the thinking of the youth.
HOW COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED SOCCER PUNTERS
The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every sector of the world's economy. Those who have been hit hard are those who solely took betting as a profession.
There are no active leagues to invest in and that means there's no revenue to gain. Clearly, sport betting is a venture not worth anyone's investment.
This era of COVID-19 presents an opportunity for punters to reflect, rethink and assess the impact of sport betting on their finances.
Successful men did not attain their feat from gambling. Anyone who gains from gambling loses through same means.
Alpha Osei Amoako