Betting has become one enormous cash cow for most genuine and dubious businessmen in the country, hence a fierce fight put up by government.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i on Monday sent out a warning to foreign investors in the business. Just a day after, he made good his threat deporting the first batch of 17 foreigners. These are said to have originated from China, Turkey and Spain.
Kenya is the third largest gambling market in Africa
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that Kenya is the third largest gambling market after South Africa and Nigeria respectively in Africa in terms of revenues.
The same report indicates a yearly turnover of the sports betting industry in Kenya as worth a whooping $20 million (Sh2 billion), and will reach $50 million (Sh 50 billion) in 2020 as demand grows.
Nevertheless, projections by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) show that gross gambling revenue in Kenya stands at Sh7 billion monthly and about Sh100 billion annually.
A ‘curse’ to Kenyan youth
No matter what, the odds are never in your favor.
The impact of gambling on social life are daunting.
The ‘get rich quick’ factor gambling sells is said to mislead a majority of youth in the country.
“All over the world, no society has developed through gaming, naked greed and an entrenched “get-rich-quick” culture. Therefore, the current misrepresentation propagated by the industry, using celebrities and influential social figures in adverts and social media, to convey the “economic logic” is outstandingly bad and shocking,” CS Matiang’i said.
According to a recent analysis, over 500,000 Kenyans have been blacklisted by the Credit Reference Bureau over defaults in repaying money borrowed for gambling. The evidence further shows that a majority of the gamblers are jobless and most are under the age of 35.
Compulsive gambling addiction
“Many factors can contribute to a gambling addiction, including desperation for money, the desire to experience thrills and highs, the social status associated with being a successful gambler, and the entertaining atmosphere of the mainstream gambling scene,” reads a PsychGuide study.
“Unfortunately, once a gambling addiction takes hold, breaking the cycle is difficult. Severe addictions can take hold when someone feels desperate financially and wants to make back what they have lost.
Once the person finally wins, while they may end up collecting a massive amount of money from that win, it is rarely enough to cover what has already been lost.”
A case in point is where a boda boda operator killed two people in a Casino at Eastleigh after losing Sh30,000 while gambling.
Further evidence by the Scientific American reveals that gambling and drugs change the brain in similar ways.
“Drug addicts share many of the same genetic predispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking. Just as substance addicts require increasingly strong hits to get high, compulsive gamblers pursue ever riskier ventures. Likewise, both drug addicts and problem gamblers endure symptoms of withdrawal when separated from the chemical or thrill they desire”- Scientific American.