At the 2022 8th Annual Public Lectures by the social policy think tank Baraka Policy Institute (BPI) on the theme “Towards Achieving the SDGs on Education: Tackling Socio-Economic Forces Against Progress in Ghana”, it was revealed that 83 per cent of students are destructively addicted to sports betting.
Speakers included Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister for Education, Dr Gamel Nasser Adam, Educationist and Mr Kwame Akyea Writer, Development Analyst and Scientist.
The findings showed that sports betting was fast becoming a serious social force against schooling in the country.
Also, it was found that a large number of school children were engaged in sports betting using online platforms through mobile phones as well as physically being present at betting centres.
The study revealed that children less than 18 years old use the ID cards of their older siblings or even parents to register to enable them to access their money.
Speaking at the lecture, Dr Adam Yunus, Head of Programmes, BPI said “I need not remind us that it is illegal for under 18-year-olds to engage in sports betting in Ghana.
“The time children or the youth spend on betting indicates that they spend very little time on their books especially during weekends and mid-weeks when football matches are mostly played and shown.”
He noted that “One key dimension to the sports betting situation which must be a concern and worry is the way and manner sports betting has become very visible and more pronounced in our communities.
“There is what can be described as a proliferation of sports betting companies across Ghana where betting centres and signboards can visibly be seen in every major street in most towns across the country. A simple search of sports betting companies in Ghana will reveal not less than 30 of them.”
Another key concern he raised is “the canker of sports betting is how sports betting companies visibly make their presence pronounced in poor communities compared to affluent communities. Serval studies have noticed the huge presence of an array of sporting centres by numerous betting companies in such communities.”
In Accra for example, he noted communities such as Nima-Mamobi, Jamestown, Ashaiman, Kasoa, Labadi, Accra Newtown, and Kotobabi among many other underprivileged communities have had their fair share of this canker.
A visit to these betting centres, he indicated conspicuously shows under 18 children present at these centres, many a time in their numbers.