Unrest is brewing in the West African country following the recent imposition of a 10% tax on betting and lottery winnings by the government. This decision has caused quite a lot of public discontent.
In Accra, people at various sports betting acceptance centers are very pessimistic about the introduction of the text. The punters want the tax abolished. “I don’t understand why the government wants to take away 10% of that small winnings, especially when numerous losses preceded it,” says Seth Twum, who has been involved in sports betting for four years.
The controversial 10% tax is a renewal of one introduced in 2015. It was repealed in 2017 as a result of significant implementation problems and vigorous protests.
Barely introduced this year, the new taxes have already generated objections and discontent among the public. Edward Gyambra, in charge of Ghana’s internal taxes and revenue collection directorate, argues that the new measure is “important to build up the domestic base because Ghana’s overall tax collections relative to GDP are very low.”
However, tax consultant Francis Timor Boey raises serious doubts that the tax renewal will be crucial for the economy. “The government needs a lot of money, and the rate tax alone will not be able to meet its needs,” he says.
Given this desperate situation, it is unlikely that the 10% tax will be abolished.
Apart from the need for more revenue for the government, the tax is meant to help the country’s youth cure the gambling craze that is gradually engulfing them.
But experts say the impact will be the opposite. Disgruntled gamblers will turn to offshore casinos because winnings in them are not taxed, and these sites give free spins no deposit for registration.
Richard Aguda, coordinator of a group of players who are protesting against the new tax, says they hope the tax will be reduced to at least 3%: “Many young people are unemployed and lack money, so betting is the only way some of us survive. If this tax was reduced to 3% it would be more acceptable to most of the population.”
As the sports betting industry actively grows and becomes more sophisticated, its value is expected to double by 2023. The new tax is likely to succeed, but it will cause problems for virtual betting sites.