Gambling is hardly a new phenomenon in Ghana, but never has online sports betting been this widespread in the West African nation.
Several factors have been responsible for the surge in betting activities in Ghana, but the most important ingredient has arguably been mobile money.
Online sports betting comprises many different facets, but there is none more crucial than depositing money into a betting site.
After all, you cannot place bets on a bookmaker if you do not have money in your betting account. Players can only start performing operations like live betting, live streaming and cash out after funding their accounts.
Similarly, a betting company cannot earn revenue if customers do not sign up and make deposits. Hence, with mobile money making payments very easy, it's a win-win for everyone.
Mobile money first arrived in Ghana in 2009, but it wasn't until five years later that it really began to find its feet. The catalysts were new regulations by the Bank of Ghana, which allowed mobile network operators to run mobile money services.
That paved the way for companies like MTN, Vodafone and Airtel Tigo to launch their mobile money platforms. Ghanaians can also transfer money across all networks without any hassles.
It is therefore hardly surprising to see that mobile money has since become one of the most popular payment methods in Ghana. Mobile money has significantly improved the financial inclusion in Ghana, making it extremely easy for people to send and receive money.
The World Bank reported in 2019 that Ghana has the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa, while the Bank of Ghana revealed in March last year that there were 14.7 million active mobile money subscribers in the country.
Not only has mobile money boosted financial inclusion in Ghana, it has also created hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the country. As at March 2020, there were over 235,000 mobile money agents in Ghana.
The online betting industry is one of many sectors of the Ghanaian economy that have greatly benefited from the mobile money revolution in the country.
With mobile money, Ghanaian bettors can easily deposit money on betting sites on their mobile phones.
Betting operators have tapped into the mobile money revolution, with the best betting companies in Ghana offering payment methods like MTN, Vodafone and Airtel Tigo. In fact, any bookie that does not have mobile money deposit options is unlikely to succeed in Ghana.
Of course there are other ways to pay into betting sites in Ghana, including cards deposits, e-wallets, bank transfer and even cryptocurrency, but none is as popular, prevalent and convenient as mobile money deposits.
Just as players can deposit money into their betting accounts via mobile money, they can also withdraw their winnings into their mobile money accounts.
Unlike bank withdrawals, which can take hours and sometimes days before being processed, mobile money transactions are completed within minutes.
Depositing money into a betting site is the fulcrum of online sports betting, and mobile money makes that task super convenient for everyone involved.