ADDICTION

KIMANI JOHN: Gambling has enslaved our young people

It has encouraged recklessness and irresponsible behaviour

In Summary

•According to a survey done in March 2017 by Geopoll, a research company based in the US,76 per cent of Kenya people do gamble.

•The survey sampled 3,879 respondents aged between 17 and 35 across the six countries of which 1,130 were in Kenya.

Gambling machines doused with fuel.
Gambling machines doused with fuel.
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU

Gambling addiction which is equivalent to slavery is a growing concern in Kenya. Betting has become a way of life for many young people.

According to a survey done in March 2017 by Geopoll, a research company based in the US, 76 per cent of Kenyans gamble.

The survey looked at betting among young people in six African countries; Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

It is a sad state of affairs that Kenya is leading. 

The survey sampled 3,879 respondents aged between 17 and 35 across the six countries of which 1,130 were in Kenya.

The advertising frenzy by betting firms and jackpot success stories has greatly contributed to the trapping of the youth's collective imagination in Kenya.

Unemployed youths view betting as a way of making quick money.

They keep betting hoping to win and even recover what they may have lost in the previous betting.

This is an obsession and addiction equivalent to that of drugs.

Sever gambling problems is causing anxiety and depression which is leading to an incredible sense of despair.This despair can lead to gambling-related suicide which is very common in Kenya

Repeated exposure to gambling and uncertainty produces lasting changes in the human brain, just like drugs do.

Harm from gambling isn’t just about losing money as it may cause addiction.

This may result in social, physical, psychological and occupational problems.

Gambling addicts often turn to crime to feed their addiction.

Youths are going to jail for embezzling money from their employers and also stealing from their families.

This delinquency and criminal behaviour can be associated with the depression that comes with gambling addiction.

Sever gambling problems are causing anxiety and depression which is leading to an incredible sense of despair.

This despair can lead to gambling-related suicide which is very common in Kenya.

Online gambling poses a great risk especially to young people who face an increasingly uncertain future.

Betting in Kenya has become very easy for young gamblers since they only need a phone and internet to gamble.

It is not uncommon to overhear students, from all levels of learning sharing their betting experiences and encourage others to also participate in the same.

Gambling is legalized in Kenya under the 1966 Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act and prohibits gambling for individuals younger than 18 years, but there are so many foreign online gambling sites that are not regulated

When gambling was introduced in Kenya it was known to be a leisure activity as it is in the US.

There is no online gambling and people have to go to casinos to bet as part of their leisure activity in the US.

In Kenya, it is different as people are taking gambling as an economic activity and worse it is done online.

Gambling is legalised in Kenya under the 1966 Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act and prohibits gambling for individuals younger than 18 years, but there are so many foreign online gambling sites that are not regulated.

These online gambling sites offer many options for Kenyan players without much concern whether they are underage.

The government has done much in its efforts to regulate gambling in Kenya with the latest where it has enacted the Gambling Act of 2020.

This act imposes a 35 per cent tax on gambling advertisements and a tax on jackpot-winning which is 20 per cent.

The gambling license for online gambling was raised to one hundred million shillings.

Gambling encourages recklessness and irresponsible behaviour. It also inhibits the ability to properly assess risks and consequences.

Recently, there have been stories of young people who have channelled all their salaries in betting and end up losing all their money.

This ends up affecting their self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and social life.

Young people who are struggling with this addiction, have completely been robbed of their happiness.  

 

Student, Maasai Mara University

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris