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Illegal gambling: Commission to destroy over 500 seized jackpots

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
Some of the seized jackpots
Some of the seized jackpots

The Gaming Commission has confiscated over 500 jackpot machines in a bid to clamp down on illegal gambling operations in the country.

The jackpots were seized in separate operations by the Commission in and around Kumasi in the Ashanti Region and Kasoa in the Central Region.

Each of the analogue or non-digital slot gaming machines, popularly known as ‘jackpot’, is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

The Public Affairs Manager of the Commission, Beatrice Baiden, said in an interview that the jackpots would be destroyed.

“The law mandates the Commission to destroy all seized jackpots, and that is exactly what we are going to do”, she said.

Ms Baiden said the activities of the jackpot operators such as the slot machines tended to expose children to gaming which was contrary to the law.

Exposure of children

Due to the ease of mobility and assembling of jackpots in the country, its proliferation and exposure to children in obscure places has been on the ascendency, the Public Affairs Manager added.

“The commission will ensure that persons below 18 years were not exposed to gaming, as stipulated in the Gaming Act, 2006 (Act 721)”, she emphasised.

Ms Baiden, therefore, appealed to any member of the public who came across any operator or person who assembled such machines to contact the Commission or report to the nearest police station.

She said the regulator was committed to the development of an industry that supported gaming as a recreational or leisure activity in a responsible manner.

Ban of analogue machines

The Gaming Commission in 2018, therefore, issued a notice to all gaming operators of its intention to phase out all analogue and non-digital slot machines within the gaming landscape in Ghana. The ban took effect on January 1, 2022.

The directive forms part of the Commission’s efforts to upgrade the industry to meet international standards and best practices, and also forms part of the regulator’s resolve to protect minors from gaming while curbing the incidence of exploitation of the vulnerable.

Engagement with operators

Following the directive, the Commission has engaged gaming operators and given them the opportunity to adopt conventional digital machines of international standards as an alternative.

“Streamlining these gaming activities is to reiterate the Commission’s commitment to ensure and enforce responsible gaming in the country.

“In line with this, all gaming operators have been mandated to implement a number of initiatives such as Know-Your-Customer (KYCs) policy and also make provision for problematic gamblers who want to self-exclude gaming,” the release stated.

Mandate of commission

The Gaming Commission of Ghana is a body established by the Gaming Act 2006 (Act 721) with a core mandate to regulate, control, monitor and supervise the operations of games of chance in the country except for lotto.