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Sports Betting Destroying Ghana’s Youth   
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There are indications that the proliferation of sports and betting (gaming) centres in Ghana are destroying the youth of this country.

A round of several betting shops at Nima, Kotobabi, Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Abeka Lapaz over the weekend revealed that a large proportion of Ghanaian youth were engaged in betting almost completely to the exclusion of all else.

Our decision to go round the betting centres came after President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda banned the issuance of new licenses to sports betting companies as well as the renewal of expired ones to avoid the over-proliferation of sports betting centres in his country.

It was announced last week that the Minister of Finance of Uganda David Bahati made an announcement on behalf of the president in the capital Kampala. He intimated that the president believes gaming and betting has given birth to laxity among Ugandan youth.

“We have received a directive from the president that we should stop sports betting, gaming and gambling companies in our country. According to the president, the Gamin Board is to strictly regulate them,” Mr. Bahati disclosed.

However, the situation in Ghana is completely different. It appears that Betting Centres are springing up at every street corner every day. Betting and Gambling have become a multimillion-dollar business across Ghana. Property owners are in a hurry to convert their side street properties to gaming centres. Subsequently, every street corner in our Towns and cities are seeing the upspring of betting centres.

A survey conducted by the Daily Searchlight lends credence to the action by the Ugandan president. Many drinking spots, restaurants, supermarkets, shops, bars and hotels in many towns and cities across Ghana have taken permits for these sports betters to operate with impunity. The youth flock to these betting centres in their numbers to throw their monies on their teams and International sports stars. In some cases, these Centres are open 24 hours.

On a visit to many sports betting centres, one could see a gathering of Ghanaian and foreign youth between the ages of 18 and 35 mostly doing sports betting spending time and money to win football pools.

“This is definitely taking all the time of the youth from everything; schooling, practicing a trade and learning. Betting is a form of gambling that leads the youth to all kinds of juvenile vices and crimes,” observed an elderly patron at a betting centre at Abeka Lapaz in Accra.

This reporter went to seek the opinion of the Gaming Commissions on this social canker but could not get any official position on the sheer numbers of gaming centres in the country yet. Officials intimated that so long as the Ghanaian public has not kicked against the activities of sports betters, there is currently no problem. A source close to the Commission assured the nation that if the activities the centres flout the gaming laws, the Commission would not hesitate to pull the plugs on these centres.

But with a country’s youthful population of about 57% consumed in gambling, moralists believe productive time and energy would be wasted.
Source: The Daily Searchligh

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