Due to the 24/7 access to online gambling sites such as SportPesa, Betway, BetIn, Lotto and many others, it is so easy to become a compulsive gambler. Before the internet it could take years for gambling to become a problem: the bets would most likely have been smaller; you had to physically go to a bank and a betting shop; and it would all take longer. You couldn’t use a credit card or mobile money in bookmakers like you can now. Nowadays you can even get instant loans, How are they ever expected to pay that back?
Gamblers – The New Profile
Gambling has traditionally been seen as a problem for older men. According to statistics, 20 years ago only 8% of women gambled but new research shows that the rate has increased to 50%.
I see younger and younger people becoming addicted to gambling. This is because they have access to their smartphones 24/7, they use their credit cards, mobile money and they don’t feel they are using real money. I know so many people who have racked up thousands and thousands of shillings of debt. People have even come up with Whatsapp groups that discuss the daily likely winning bets.
When they win money it goes straight into their account on that particular site and are able to request a withdrawal straight into their mobile money account. Most are usually back on the site gambling with their winnings. And all this time they are saying to themselves “I’ve won all this money” and can’t see that they are caught up in the vicious circle.
Gambling and Suicide
I have seen statistics which show that three times as many gambling addicts kill themselves as compared to other types of addicts. It is not strange to hear university students even putting their own school fees at stake, hoping to make winnings but the end result ends up been deep depression or fatal if unlucky.
Gambling is seen as good fun and I don’t know what the solution is. On the gambling websites they allow you to win just enough to get that adrenaline rush, get the endorphins moving, the dopamine into the brain. Then they put the brakes on, take all your money and you think “I need to get back up there.” So then you start chasing your losses and are in deeper than ever. It’s a vicious circle.
The Appeal of Gambling
The grandiosity of being in front of that card game in a casino, people giving you free drinks and feeding you. The buzz when you’re about to turn that card – is this the time I’m going to win big? For many it isn’t the win but the lead up to it: you’ve got the money, you are going to get dressed, look smart and walk through that door and feel the rush of adrenaline. Sitting at the table, getting the first deal. Is this the one?
You have to change your life, change your career and become a better person. Start by volunteering and supporting others facing this problem.
If you really want to change your life it is possible – the first step is admitting you have a problem and that you cannot continue on the path you are on. You have to accept that you cannot do this on your own and put your hand out for help.