Gambling in Kenya traditionally included activities such as wagering at casinos, card games and games of personal skill for example pool and video games. However, with the emergence of online-gambling or internet betting over the past decade, gambling has become rampant in the country and has affection among everyone but I have to point out specific demography that’s highly affected. Young Men! The die-hards of football and most other sports that the industry is targeting on the internet.
Surprisingly, this phenomenon isn’t unique to Kenya or Sub-Saharan countries only. In 2005, An online survey of 639 Australian sports bettors using online, telephone and retail betting channels was conducted by Latrobe business school in Australia to identify demographic, behavioural and normative risk factors for gambling problems among sports bettors. Results indicated that vulnerable sports bettors for higher-risk gambling are those who are young, male, single, educated and full-time student or employed full-time. The risk of problem gambling was also found to increase with greater frequency and expenditure on sports betting, greater diversity of gambling involvement, and with more impulsive responses to betting opportunities, including in-play live action betting. Normative influences from media advertising and from significant others were also associated with greater problem gambling risk. The study concluded sports betting is growing exponentially, is heavily marketed and successfully targets young males. This study mirrors the situation now in Kenya.
We cant talk about how young men start and keep gambling without mentioning various myths sold to them in adverts. The myths keep them gambling for a long period of time into their adulthood. I think it’s good to separate facts from fiction. It’s even better to do it in gambling which is a topic marred by a lot of myths. While some who engage in gambling understand the odds they face, most subscribe to a variety of gambling myths that can eventually lead to problems.
Some of the most common gambling myths are discredited below.
MYTH: I have a feeling that today is my lucky day. I just know I’m going to win.
REALITY: Hoping or wishing to win has no influence on the outcome of a game of chance. Likewise, superstitious behaviour does not ensure favourable results.
MYTH: I almost won(Ni game moja tu imeniangusha); I must be due for a win.
REALITY: “Almost” winning in no way means that a real win is around the corner. Future gambling outcomes are not influenced by previous outcomes.
MYTH: If betting hasn’t paid out in a while or if I haven’t won anything in a long time, I’m due for a win.
REALITY: Games operate randomly at all times – no matter how many wins or losses have occurred in the past. The result of your last game has no bearing on the result of your next game.
MYTH: If I keep gambling, my luck will change.
REALITY:Each time you place a bet, the outcome is completely independent of any previous bets. This means that the odds are no more in your favour on the 100th bet than they were on the first bet.
MYTH: I have studied the rules of the game and know how to beat the house.
REALITY: Odds of the games are designed with a house advantage. Mathematically, the house advantage is a measure of how much the house expects to win, expressed as a percentage of the player’s wager. In some games, player betting or skill decisions can affect the house’s advantage, but it’s important to keep in mind that the house always has some advantage against the gambler.
Young men find themselves at a crossroads. Their passion for competitive games and a growing risk appetite are now being exploited by gambling companies. They promise them mind-boggling riches from a click of a button and yet they are well aware of how the odds are skewed to favour them. Some of those who start gambling get into a wild goose chase that ends in addiction, and financial or relationship problems. They then start resenting sports due to the indistinguishable nature of sports and gambling nowadays. The writer is a strong advocate of how betting shouldn’t go hand in hand with sports as we see in society today. The media also shouldn’t normalize this trend as it is the direct catalyst of the ‘gamblification’ of football and other sports. The casualties are the people who love sports the most, Young Men!
A good solution should anyone find himself in addiction is to install Gamban app from http://www.gamban.co.ke. This is an app that blocks gambling websites on your devices and has had significant success among its users. I have to mention that addiction is a multifaceted issue so one should also explore other treatment methods like therapy and counselling.