While musicians from other countries continue to enjoy huge financial benefits from endorsement deals with betting companies, Ghanaian artistes remain unable to access such luxuries.
Nigerian superstar Davido is a brand ambassador for 1xBet; his compatriot, Reminisce endorses Frapapa, just as many other celebs have ties with different betting brands. At the moment, these kinds of deals are not possible in Ghana.
Ghana now has quite a few quality betting sites, and many would no doubt love to strengthen their position in the market by teaming up with popular celebs, but unfortunately, they are unable to do so.
In 2020, the Gaming Commission of Ghana banned such partnerships, preventing betting companies from using Ghanaian celebrities in their marketing campaigns or as brand ambassadors.
According to the betting regulatory body, the move was made to cut down on the rate of gambling, especially amongst young Ghanaians.
Many top players in the entertainment industry have expressed their displeasure at the move, but their complaints have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Among the most recent critics of the policy is entertainment pundit and artiste manager Lawrence Nana Asiamah Hanson, more popularly known as Bullgod, who suggested that Ghanaian celebrities could go on strike to register their dissatisfaction with certain government policies.
Also commenting on the issue was musician Gasmilla, who opined that the government seemed to be on a mission to make Ghanaian artistes poor.
“For me the first time I heard it I just understood why artistes in Ghana are in this state they are in", Gambilla told Hitz FM.
"It looks like [the] government has decided to make artistes poor. It’s like an intentional thing they are doing to create poverty, to control the media or to control artistic people", he continued.
The annoyance of Ghanaian artistes towards the ban on betting endorsements has been further stoked by the recent partnerships between Ghanaian football and betting companies.
In August, the Ghanaian Football Association announced that betting powerhouse betPawa would become the new headline sponsor of the Ghanaian Premier League.
The deal reeks of double standards on the part of the Gaming Commission. Why would they allow a betting company to sponsor the Ghanaian league and yet ban betting companies from having musicians as brand ambassadors?
If the commission is really worried about the growing rate of gambling, then it wouldn't approve a deal between football and a betting company.
Think of the popularity of football in Ghana, and the exposure the league would give to sports betting- from the advertising hoardings to in-game commercials- and you begin to see the hypocrisy of Ghanaian regulators.
Football betting is already at an all-time high in Ghana, and this new GPL deal will only accelerate that growth.
Ghanaian musicians have every right to feel aggrieved.
To make matters worse, betPawa is partly owned by Mr. Eazi, a Nigerian musician who schooled at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, amongst other strong links to Ghana.
BetPawa is not the only betting company sponsoring a major football league in Ghana. The Women's Premier League, Ghana's topflight women's competition, is sponsored by betway.
One can clearly understand the grievances of Ghanaian musicians.
If betting companies are allowed to freely and openly sponsor sporting competitions, why should artistes be left out of the equation?