Interview: Samuel Awuku

Which factors account for the growth in Ghana’s lottery industry and the attending challenges?

AWUKU: The ongoing transition from the traditional means of operating lotteries to online games has accounted for remarkable growth in Ghana’s lottery markets. The online lottery market leverages the convenience and accessibility offered by digital platforms, enabling a user-friendly experience for purchasing tickets and participating in draws. The integration of mobile technology and secure payment options further enhances the attractiveness of online lottery platforms.

These developments have significantly boosted user penetration, resulting in increased revenue for the lottery regulator and its partners. However, the online market faces a number of important obstacles, including the possibility of cybersecurity threats and the risk of customers developing gambling problems. Industry participants must invest in initiatives promoting responsible gaming and implement strong security measures to guarantee adherence to changing legal frameworks and ensure sustainable growth.

What sort of infrastructure can help support expansion in the lottery industry?

AWUKU: The Ghanaian lottery industry is undergoing a digital transformation, with technological investment over the past three years leading to product innovations catering to different market segments. This digitalisation is opening up opportunities for international partners and operators, with some already operating in the country. This transformation is expected to shape the industry and protect stakeholders.

New investors should focus on operating digital lottery platforms to reduce the number of illegal operators in the industry. According to reports by member countries of the World Lottery Association at the 2022 World Lottery Summit, the global lottery industry lost about $1.8trn to illegal operators in that year alone, resulting in revenue loss for governments and stakeholders.

In what ways can the private sector increase investment in the industry and develop the value chain?

AWUKU: The National Lotto Act established the NLA and enables the regulator to leverage collaborations with other entities, especially the private sector, to assist corporations in running consumer promotions for games of chance. As the only organisation authorised to administer lotteries and other games of chance in Ghana, the NLA launched the Caritas lottery platform in 2012. The platform uses a random number generator to electronically select winners for lottery schemes and permits commercial and financial entities to collaborate with the NLA to promote their businesses.

A key challenge in the industry revolves around the misuse of lottery activities as a conduit for money laundering by private lottery operators. Additionally, launching new lottery channels, opening new retail locations, attracting new players and creating new games are among the biggest obstacles to sector growth. In Ghana, the laws governing lotteries do not clearly state how online gaming is regulated. Hence, it is important to review the National Lotto Act to expressly define the legal parameters for regulating, supervising and conducting online lotteries in Ghana. This will empower the NLA to effectively regulate, supervise, conduct and manage lottery operations in Ghana.

How can greater safety and sustainability of lottery proceedings be incentivised in Ghana?

AWUKU: As much as possible, it is important to protect minors from engaging in lottery games through a strict legal framework. This would ensure that the lottery space can permit only those legally eligible to play. Furthermore, to help lottery winners strategically invest their winnings, the NLA is in the process of expanding its advisory services bureau to perpetuate the principles of responsible winning and gaming. Lastly, the enforcement of legislation will be essential in clamping down on illegal lottery operators across the country.