The Gaming Commission has begun a nationwide enforcement exercise to rid the country of banned analogue gaming machines such as the slot ones usually patronised by minors.
In an operation which lasted for six hours in some communities in the Greater Accra Region, including Abokobi, Dome and its environs, a team from the commission, with assistance from officers from the Ghana Police Service, confiscated about 30 of such machines from about 12 locations in the communities mentioned.
The exercise, which involves the confiscation and destruction of machines that are banned, is expected to protect and safeguard minors from gaming in the country and also help streamline the industry to meet international standards.
The Head of Public Affairs at the Gaming Commission, Beatrice Baiden, told the Graphic Business after the exercise that the illegal gaming operators of analogue machines such as the slot machines exposed children to gaming which was contrary to the law.
She explained that due to their ease of mobility and assembling, the proliferation and exposure of such gaming machines to children in obscure places had been on the ascendency.
The Gaming Commission in 2018 issued a notice to all gaming operators on its intention to phase out all analogue and non-digital slot machines popularly known as jackpot machines within the gaming industry.
The ban took effect on January 1, 2022, and formed part of the Commission's efforts to upgrade the industry to reflect best practices.
Ms Baiden said the ban was also part of the regulator's resolve to protect minors from gaming and curb the exploitation of the vulnerable in relation to the gaming machines.
She said the confiscated machines would be sent to a landfill site for destruction while other operations would be carried out in other locations to enforce the ban.
Some operators of drinking spots where these slots machines are usually stationed told the Graphic Business during the raid that they were excited about the exercise because they had witnessed the destructive effect of the machines on minors, including schoolchildren.
Asked if they were not concerned about the collapse of their businesses, one of the operators, Felix Asare, explained that almost all the machines belonged to some Chinese businesses and the locals, usually operators of drinking bars, served as caretakers for a fee.
A lady of about 50 years old, Doris Bio, said she had in the past questioned the existence of the slot gaming machines because they targeted minors.
"I even didn't understand why the government was allowing people to do a business that makes children skip school and engage in all sorts of violence," she said.