The bets frustrating Africa's youth

With all the sports betting craze all around us (and apparently, the allure that comes with huge prize money), it has never crossed my mind that gambling is something I can engage in. First of all, I don’t have the idle cash lying somewhere, which I can redirect to the craze. Secondly, I do not have the time and enthusiasm to engage in it let alone, always being on the losing end, unlike what the betting or gambling companies always tell us.

This week, it emerged that my countrymen, the Kenyan youth have the highest propensity to bet, in Africa. This is according to a survey conducted by GeoPoll, which suggests that Kenya is currently the undisputed champion in the most amount of money used in gambling. The vice is commonest among the youth, with those from Kenya betting once a week and spending roughly US$50 each month typically on football bets. When compared to fellow Africans, the regularity of gambling is highest among the Kenyans, where 76 per cent of the youth polled admitted gambling in the past.Elsewhere in Africa, the youth spend less than US$50 each month, betting just once in the month. In Uganda, 57 per cent of the youth admitted gambling in the recent past. Ghana had the least number of youth who admitted gambling at 42 per cent. Despite the high appetite for gambling among Africa’s youth, here comes the shocker. None of those who participated in the surveys has ever won anything more that U$50. The majority were the losers, with betting companies standing out as the biggest winners as always.

The most popular form of gambling is sports betting, with Kenyan youth betting the most with 79 per cent of bets placed on football games.

The survey was conducted in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa among youth aged between 17-35 years. Football gambling was the commonest elsewhere except South Africa where lotteries are the most favourite form of gambling.The mobile phone has become the most convenient tool for those gambling with 75 per cent of betters doing so using their phones. Again, Kenya has the highest number of mobile usage for gambling at 96 per cent, with a lot of the youth equally admitting that they acquired smartphones purposely to use in online gambling. Interestingly, South Africa, which has the highest levels of mobile penetration on the continent, has the lowest usage of the mobile phones in gambling at just 48 per cent.

Image Credit: GeoPoll.

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