Gambling is when someone risks money or valuable objects in order to place a bet. This money may be lost if the person bets incorrectly or more may be won if they are correct. People usually gamble on the results of sports games, such as football or basketball.
Many people gamble as they believe it is a quick way to make easy money. However, often the chance of winning a gamble is very low.
Gambling can become an addictive habit. When you start, you may not feel like you are able to stop.
There has been a rise in gambling in young people of East Africa. This has many negative consequences.
WHERE IS GAMBLING POPULAR?
Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana are some of the countries that are most affected. In Nigeria, it is thought that there are 60 million people that spend up to 5 million dollars a day on gambling.
Gambling is becoming a massive problem among young people. Recent evidence suggests that 54% of sub-Saharan African youth have tried sports gambling.
ARE SMARTPHONES THE PROBLEM?
Smartphones may be responsible for this rise in gambling among youth. It has been found that 75% of people who gamble, do it with their mobile phone. In Kenya, this number is even bigger with 96% of gambling occurring on mobile phones.
There are many reasons why smartphones would increase gambling. For example, smartphones give easy access to the internet, where a growing number of online gambling sites can be found.
HOW CAN GAMBLING AFFECT YOUNG PEOPLE?
There are many serious problems that can be caused by gambling. For example, in September 2019, 38 students from Thika, Kenya, were arrested after the police found them to be betting and engaging in illicit activities. The students were found to be between the ages of 10-18. It is illegal for children this young to engage in such activities. The owners of the business were also arrested.
Furthermore, online gambling has also led to increased suicides. In January 2020, a man in Nairobi jumped from the 7th floor of a building to his death after losing Sh15 million to gambling.
Many students are now also unable to go to school because of gambling. This is because they use their school fees on gambling. Gambling has also caused an increase in bankruptcy, domestic violence and evictions.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS?
In order to reduce the amount of gambling, many things must be done. Education about the negative effects of smartphone gambling is important, especially to schools and parents.
Finally, it is important to remember the risks of smartphone gambling. It is that likely if you put money into a bet it will be lost. A better outcome may be to save this money for the future.