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General News of Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Source: ABCnewsgh.com

SafariBet bolts with winner’s GHC57m; pressure mounts on Gaming Commission

Pressure is gradually mounting on the Gaming Commission of Ghana to explain why it shut down activities of Africa Gaming and Entertainment, operators of SafariBet at a time a petition was before it on how the latter had failed to pay a bet winner his winning ticket of over Ghc57 million.

“Right after the Commission shut down the operations of Safaribet, they locked up down officers and bolted with monies people had genuinely won. At least the Commission should have made sure that Safaribet had honored its obligations before shutting them down”, Kwame Asiedu, an Investment Consultant opined, in an interaction with ABC News yesterday.

In November 2018, a young Ghanaian, Theophilus Morgan, won a whopping Ghc57 million after placing 220 bet slips at Safaribet but the Betting Company refused to pay him hiding behind flimsy excuses.

Safaribet initially blocked his account and deleted 219 of his betting slips to clear any evidence that he had won such an amount but after his story ended up in the media, they offered to pay him just Ghc286,000 which is a total amount of 1 slip plus bonus but on condition that he would sign a waiver which he rejected.

Morgan, getting frustrated petitioned the gaming commission in December 2018 to intervene.

Upon deliberations, the Commission wrote several letter to Safaribet instructing them to release the winnings of the first slip which is not in contention without forcing Morgan to sign any waiver, Safaribet refused to pay heed to the commission.

The Gaming Commission in a letter dated 15th February, 2019 asked Safaribet to pay the Ghc286,000 while they investigated and concluded on whether they were liable to pay the remaining winnings for the other 219 slips or not.

Unfortunately SafariBet did not pay the money and in April when the Commission issued a public statement cautioning the public from doing business with Safaribet, the latter went underground and since not resurfaced making it difficult for Morgan to reap the benefits of his sweat.

The Gaming Commission of Ghana (GAC) revoked the licences of sports betting companies; Lollibet and SafariBet Sports Betting after preliminary findings showed that their operations contravened the Gaming Act of 2006.

The GCA also commenced further investigations into the operations of the two companies after preliminary findings found that they had flouted Section 46 of the Gaming Act, 2006 (Act 721).

The Commission in a public notice warned that it will not be held liable if anyone deals with the two companies despite the revocation.

Section 46 which deals with the revocation of a gambling machine licence by the Board of the commission states that;

46. The Board may revoke a licensee granted under section 43 if

(a) the Board is satisfied that the license has contravened or failed to comply with the terms or conditions of the license or a requirement of this Act,

(b) the Board is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so;

or

(c) the licensee is convicted of an offence in relation to a gambling machine.

Unable to stand the twists and turns, Morgan resorted to the law Courts which has produced a very interesting outcome.

Published below is one of the numerous letters.