Should Ghana Allow Celebrities to Endorse Online Betting Companies?

It has been well over a year since the Gaming Commission of Ghana banned betting companies from using celebrities as brand ambassadors, but is it time for the authorities to have a rethink and lift that ban?

Back in October 2020, the Gaming Commission laid down a series of guidelines on advertisements by betting companies; and one of the more controversial directives was the rule that stopped betting companies from using celebrities in their advertisements or as ambassadors.

The move followed a long series of celebrity betting endorsements, with the likes of Nadia Buhari, Jackie Appiah, Lilwin, Selly Gally and many other top names in the Ghanaian entertainment scene scoring deals with betting companies in the country.

The Commission’s main argument was that such endorsements would lure young people into betting, and increase the risk of gambling addiction.

The directive by the Gaming Commission was naturally met with disdain by Ghanaian celebrities, who felt they were being deprived of a major source of income.

Recently, top Ghanaian singer, Wendy Shay brought the topic into the limelight once again, calling on respective regulatory bodies to lift the ban on betting and alcohol endorsements. She even went as far as promising to cast her vote for the political party that lifts the ban when the elections come around in 2024!

“Musicians are not supposed to be poor”, Wendy Shay said on Twitter“. “But in this country, if God does not step in, you will die poor”.

“Now we can’t even get alcohol and betting companies to sponsor our shows 2024 my vote will be for any party that will lift that ban.”

Given that there are so many betting companies in Ghana, it is easy to see why Ghanaian artists are frustrated by the government bans. There is so much money to be made from that industry!

It gets even more annoying when they see that their colleagues in other countries are bagging serious money from such endorsements. For example, Nigerian star, Davido recently signed a multi-million naira deal with betting heavyweights, 1xBet.

The reasoning behind the ban is understandable, but has it really been effective?

Sports betting continues to grow at a rapid rate in Ghana, with the country now considered as one of the top gambling nations on the continent.

Betting is still very much in-your-face, with brands like Betway and 1xBet being very active in the football sector.

Like some antagonists of the ban have suggested; instead of stopping celebrities from endorsing betting companies, why not tweak the guidelines and use these celebrities to educate young people on the importance of responsible gambling and the dangers of addiction?

The Gaming Commission and the celebrities can reach a middle ground where the celebs get to keep their endorsements on the condition that they use their influence to promote gambling health.

By reaching this compromise, it would be a win-win for everyone involved.

The intentions of Ghanaian betting regulators are genuine, but there could be better ways of managing the relationship between betting companies and celebrities, instead of placing an outright ban on such associations.

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