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“Is online gambling a saviour or destroyer?”
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“Is online gambling a saviour or destroyer?”

Paul Odhiambo pic

As many as four out of five young people have bet in online sports gambling, writes Paul Odhiambo, 26, a Correspondent from Nairobi in Kenya, who examines an activity that involves game analysis, betting through agents or cell phones – and frequent losses.

Gambling has its pros and cons, and sometimes its adverse effects outweigh its advantages. A few months ago in my country, the media reported about a young university student who placed his all school fees in football betting with the hope that he would win. Unfortunately, he lost the chances. He could not bear the pain of losing and he hanged himself.

Marcus Garvey once stated that “people without knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” In this vein, what is the origin of gambling? The first gambling evidence was reported in the ancient China, where tiles were exhumed that appeared to have been employed for an original game of chance. Online gaming became more known in 2011 when the New Jersey legalised online gambling. Since then more people are interested in the game, and there has been rapid growth in the industry across the world. The youth are the majority of participants.

Now the game is here with us, but is it a saviour or a destroyer to the youth?  The answer to this question relies on the benefits and disadvantages of the game. These are some of cons and pros of gambling, which apply to all types of betting.

One advantages is that online gambling stimulates the local economies and revenue collection.

The government collects revenues through taxes paid by gaming companies, and this boosts economic development of the country. The lucky winners in gambling receive a good amount of money, which improves and changes their living standards.

A second advantage is as a form of entertainment. Gambling entertains people who take part in it. Some people even become addicted, and find that they cannot do anything without it.

Addiction is a con of online gambling.

The dependent condition is known as PG (Pathological Gambling). At this state of dependency, gambling behaviour interferes with the human relationship and adversely affects social activities. Studies show that pathological gamblers often revert to illegal activities after they have lost their possessions in the game, so as to sustain their addictions.

The research review journal published on Springerlink.com indicated that gambling addiction affects some parts of the brain. For example, new addiction theories have singled out four essential congenital-emotional processes that are possibly related to pathological gambling. They include (1) punishment and reward processing and its relationship with the conditioning of the behaviour. (2) Increased salience gambling-cue – this is responsible for the strong urge for gambling. (3) Impulsivity – it is considered as vulnerability and characteristic for acquiring pathological gambling. (4) Compromised decision making – addicted gamblers continue betting even in the face of the negative concerns.

Financial ruin is another con of gambling.

Not all gamblers are winners. Most of them lose a lot of money in betting, some even borrowing money from the bank purposely for gambling. This situation has left them in a financial tumbledown, and has led to many cases of family break-ups, suicides, and over-dependency on others.

Gambling is a saviour and a destroyer at the same time. There are many youths for whom betting has changed their lives, but they should not be addicted to it since it is not guaranteed if you are a winner today, tomorrow will win. It is advisable for people to gamble with the money they are ready to lose, such as money put aside for entertainment, but not gamble with money for important things.

Reach me on Twitter @OngoroPaul

photo credit: Sun City Casino, Sun City, North West, South Africa via photopin (license)

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About me:

I am an industrial chemist and aspiring entrepreneur. I am interested in green chemistry, environmental conservation, good governance, entrepreneurship, chemistry, biochemistry and good education.

I believe if government and different organizations give an opportunity to youths, they can transform their lives and their communities. In many occasions, youths have been considered as needy and hopeless; therefore, they are not allowed to contribute to national matters. However, they are the people who know their problems.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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