Branding expert and entertainment pundit, Jesse Agyepong, is urging the Ghana Gaming Commission to use celebrities to help preach a responsible betting behaviour.
According to him, so long as betting stays in the country, its effects will grow.
Hence, it is advisable to start a campaign that can help educate people on the dangers of betting irresponsibly.
“The menace of betting will be pervasive from now onwards and will only get worse. Once the industry is growing the menace will also grow.
“So, don’t fight it by shutting the celebrities away. Pick them and use them to drive a responsible betting behaviour,” Mr Agyepong said on Showbiz A-Z on Saturday.
His comment follows a ban on betting companies from using celebrities in their advertisement or as ambassadors.
The decision by the Ghana Gaming Commission was based on the increasing number of celebrities who endorse betting companies and the effect on the youth.
Many industry persons have reacted to the ban including artiste manager Bullet who has called the new guideline “stringent and heart wrenching.”
Also on the show, Reggie Rockstone said that it was unfair for the Commission to put the irresponsible actions of individuals on celebrities who are used as ambassadors.
Mr Agyepong, thus, believes that the Commission can raise money via the betting companies to sponsor ads with celebrities preaching against irresponsible betting.
“The Gaming Commission has the right to call all the betting companies into a room, to say that we are creating a responsible betting fund as an example.
“Each person should contribute, let’s say 0.1% of the gains you have. It goes into a kitty and they raise say ¢5million. We have 10 celebs sitting there who can then drive the agenda across the country.”
Mr Agyepong is not the only pundit pushing for the use of celebrities as ambassadors for responsible betting.
On October 12, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 3Music, Sadiq Abdulai Abu, also pushed for the Commission to use celebrities to lead the education campaign to prevent young people from gambling.
“Once we recognise that these celebrities have a certain power to influence, we should recognise that they do not only have the power to influence negatively but also positively.
“If the idea is that the younger people are easily moved by them, then, it should tell you that these same people as brand ambassadors could also take a lead in influencing younger people positively,” he told Andy Dosty on Daybreak Hitz on Hitz FM.
CEO of 3Music also added that whether celebrities endorse betting companies or not, “gambling is addictive by nature”, hence, it falls on the Gaming Commission to ensure proper enforcement of the regulations.