Over 400 slot machines (jackpot) have been confiscated at Atasemanso in the Kumasi metropolitan by the Ghana Gaming Commission in partnership with the Ghana Police Service.
The slot machines were seized by the Commission’s monitoring team during a field trip in the Ashanti region, as part of its routine monitoring operations across the country to apprehend operators who break the Commission’s rules and regulations.
The exercise was part of the Commission’s efforts to improve the quality of gaming by cracking down on illegal gaming businesses and underage school children who indulge in gambling.
The Ghana Gaming Commission issued a notice to all gaming operators in 2018 stating that it intends to phase out all analogue and non-digital slot machines commonly referred to as “Jackpot machines” from the Ghanaian gaming landscape.
On January 1, 2022, the ban took effect.
Ms Beatrice Baiden, the Commission’s Public Affairs Manager, said the Commission was founded to regulate, control, and supervise the activities of games of chance in Ghana in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) following the exercise.
The decision, she added, was part of the Commission’s efforts to bring the industry up to international standards and best practices, as well as the regulator’s resolve to safeguard minors from gambling while reducing the occurrence of vulnerable people being exploited.
“In 2021, we informed slot machine operators of our intention to phase them out of the system permanently.”
“We set a deadline of December 31, 2021,” says the author. As a result, anyone using such computers is breaking the law. As a result, we’re implementing the mandate to ensure that certain devices are removed from the system,” she explained.
Children are frequently exposed to illicit operators, according to Ms Baiden, given to their convenient mode of movement and portable nature.
“Illegal operators frequently expose minors to these machines because of their ease of transportation and portability.
“So today we’re out on the field enforcing this mandate to ensure that children aren’t exposed to the machines and to inform the public that these devices are no longer in use in the country,” she explained.
Ms Baiden added that the Commission had also consulted with gaming operators about the legislation and offered them the option of using traditional digital machines that met international standards instead.
“When we come across such illegal devices, we are obligated to confiscate them, send them to the police station, and hand them over to them for care until the Board receives a directive on how to dispose of them properly,” Ms Baiden told the GNA, citing Section 53 of the Gaming Act 2006 (Act 721).
She stated that her organization would continue to work with local authorities to increase education about illegal gaming and underage gaming, and that anyone caught guilty would face legal consequences.
Ms Baiden said the initiative was a team effort, and she urged the public to help the Commission by reporting illegal operators’ activities in a timely manner so that action could be done.