Claim: A viral tweet by a social media user, @DailyInsightsGH claimed that ex-president Mahama says sports betting should be banned rather than taxed!
Verdict: Misleading! John Mahama criticised the government for imposing taxes on sports betting. He did not call for the banning of sports betting.
The Ghana Revenue Authority announced on August 8, 2023, that the government intends to introduce a 10% withholding tax on all sports betting winnings. Find publications of the announcement here, here, here and here.
The tax follows after the passage of the Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2023, Act 1094. This subjects all lottery winnings to a withholding tax, which is to be deducted by lottery operators and paid to the GRA.
The announcement and introduction of the 10% tax on sports betting has raised several arguments and concerns from the populace. Some have argued that the tax is cruel to ‘the youth’ who have resorted to betting due unemployment.
Various politicians have had their take on the issue, including ex-president John Mahama with most of them divided on the matter.
Shortly after the ex-president’s comments on the matter, DUBAWA found a tweet on @DailyInsightsGH suggesting the ex-president had called for a ban on betting. Similar claims were found on X (Twitter) user, @iLatif, who also shared a picture with the claim that ex-president John Dramani Mahama had called sports betting to be banned, rather than placing taxes on it. Find the viral tweet here.
At the time of writing this report, the tweet had received 305,800 views, 459 retweets, 3732 likes, and 99 quotes.
DUBAWA decided to investigate this claim because of the controversy it has garnered.
DUBAWA subjected each of the tweets to critical scrutiny and noticed that the post by @iLatif had ‘dailyinsightonline.com’ as its source. The researcher then proceeded to discover if such a website exists. A Google search revealed no results for such a website. However, the researcher found Theinsightnewsonline.com. This news portal had some news articles which covered Ghanaian issues.
The caption of the X post was “News: Former President Mahama wades into the 10% betting tax brouhaha. He advocates for a ban.” Find the post here.
Again, no link leads to an article with further details. However, the DailyInsightsGH X page had a link address leading to a page with several articles. We perused the page and found no article about the ‘Mahama Sports betting ban’ post on X.
Most articles on the page covered issues about the current vice president, Dr Bawumia.
In addition, DUBAWA surfed through mainstream online and the social media pages of Mr Mahama to find if any content related to a ban on sports betting or even a tax on sports betting had been posted. His X, Facebook pages and website had no updates or recent posts on tax on sports betting.
However, during his speech at Avenor Park under the theme, “Building The Ghana We Want Together,” Mr Mahama said the current government had introduced many taxes and would soon introduce a 10% tax on sports betting. He expressed his shock at the introduction of the tax briefly and moved on to how Ghana needs rescuing.
Find videos here and here. Find a fuller version of the video here from 36:40 to 37:35. DUBAWA has listened to the entire commentary by Mr Mahama and can state that at no point in that commentary did he call for a ban on betting.
The claim that ex-president John Mahama has called for banning sports betting rather than imposing taxes on it is misleading.