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Government eyes new online betting policy to plug revenue leakages

BY: Kweku Zurek
Government eyes new online betting policy to plug revenue leakages
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and caretaker Minister for Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

The government aims to formulate a new policy to improve revenue mobilization from online gaming in 2021.

Presenting the 2021 budget statement and economic policy on the floor of Parliament on Friday (March 12, 2021) the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and caretaker Minister for Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for the Interior will work with stakeholders to formulate a comprehensive policy to improve revenue mobilization from online gaming.

He said: "Mr. Speaker, gaming has become a major income earner all across the globe and a significant source of Government revenue. The influx of online betting and automation of the once totally manual process has changed the character of revenue sources from that industry. It is estimated that Ghana loses over GHs 300 million annually in revenue due to leakages in the sector. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for the Interior will co-supervise the gaming industry and will soon consult with stakeholders to formulate a comprehensive policy to improve revenue mobilization from this source".

Spike in online gaming

There has been a spike in online gaming in Ghana and on the African continent over the past five years with the number of online gaming companies increasing exponentially.

The operators which number over 19 are licensed by the Gaming Commission of Ghana. They offer services ranging from online sports betting to online casino games on their web-based platforms.

Kenya scraps betting tax

In September 2019, Kenya's Parliament voted to raise the excise duty on bets, from 10% to 20%. The new tax came on top of an existing 20% tax on individual gamblers' winnings.

However, the tax was removed in under a year after leading betting operators Sportpesa and Betin closed-down operations in the country.