Gambling: a sure bet? The global challenges facing young people

The global growth of gambling has led to tensions about what role it can and should play in our societies. In Kenya, the rise of online sports betting highlights broader social issues – with disillusioned youth using it as a way to fund themselves through university and through life. In Albania, the government is grappling with a social and health crisis after years of rapid gambling expansion and in the UK, current gambling legislation is under review, with particular focus on the impact on young people.

As the pandemic escalates global economic crises and behaviours shift further online, the expansion of gambling poses additional risks, especially to young people who face an increasingly uncertain future.

As a new documentary series for the BBC World Service discusses, opportunities for gambling are rapidly growing around the world. Some governments promote it to fill gaps in government budgets (lotteries are a prime example). Others usher in new, relaxed gambling rules without accounting for potential fallout. But a closer look at those caught up in the cycle of gambling shows that the effects can be devastating.

Jonah* is a 21-year-old student living in Kenya that I interviewed for the BBC’s Gambling: A Sure Bet. He describes himself as a “gambling addict”. Like so many of his friends, he bets on European football matches, aiming to make enough money to fund his way through college. And he does. Last year, he won enough money to fund his fees for a semester. But he’s also anxious about this, and ashamed of his behaviour – especially stealing from his parents to fund his betting (gambling addiction is a cycle and people continue to feed their betting habits despite winning), worrying about what would happen if they found out about it.

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Πηγή: theconversation.com

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