Stand Point

Kwara youths and danger of sport betting


With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson

A crowd gathered round as a mother almost stripped her 15-year- old son naked and pounded his body with heavy blows with her clenched fists. The scenario played out in Sabo-Oke area of Ilorin, Kwara State recently. Pleas by people for the aggrieved mother to let go of her son fell on deaf ears. It took a while before the boy was eventually rescued from his furious mother. The depressed mum later narrated the running battle she had been having with her teenage-son over his addiction for sport betting before his latest escapade, wherein he staked his school fees. There abound tales of how youths and underaged are inordinately partaking in betting.
If the teenage boy was lucky to have gotten only punches and slaps as wage for his misdemeanor,  a young man in Ilorin, did not live to tell his tale; his ended on a tragic note. The 25 -year- old man reportedly committed suicide after allegedly losing out in a betting.
The incident was said to have occurred in Oko-Erin area of the metropolis. It was gathered that the deceased staked his motorcycle, which was before then, source of his livelihood. Out of depression, the young man took his own life by hanging himself to a ceiling fan in his apartment.
Sport betting has no doubt become pervasive in Kwara State, in spite of its adverse effects. The betting bug has caught up with most youths. It has become a mainstay for teeming unemployed young persons. Smartphones and mobile digital technology have enabled betting practices with unfettered access to gambling apps and sites. Therefore,  one can become a millionaire from the comfort of his room by placing bets online. Some of the online soccer betting websites and platforms include Nairabet, 1960bet, bet9ja, Surebet247, Merrybet and Betcolony. This modern media for soccer sweepstake have come to replace the old soccer pool.  So also, there is a preponderance of betting shops in Ilorin,  the state capital,  as virtually every corner one turns to within the metropolis can boast of at least one gambling centre.
Youths clustering around bet shops to stake for games, is now a common sight. Secondary school students are not left out as they are seen in their uniforms hanging around gambling centres. Even artisans have been infected with the betting syndrome, they gamble with their daily proceeds. It has become a widespread obsession and addiction. The underline motive for this habit is not far fetched – greed. With the desire to escape poverty for a better life, youth see gambling as the surest path to tow. They want to become rich without hard work.  They want wealth without recourse to the rules for wealth creation. Unfortunately most youngsters who win big lavish the windfall because they do not have knowledge of basic financial management.
Incontrovertibly, football betting is now a cankerworm that is eating deep in the fabric of our society. Without mincing words, it has tremendously encouraged laziness among youths and promoting the ‘get rich quick’ syndrome. This is undoubtedly contributing to the erosion of societal and educational values.
The major problem with sport betting is compulsive nature of gambling, and lack of proper safeguards to thwart underage gambling.
Problems associated with gambling include health issues as losing to a bet can cause sadness, high BP, regret, depression and suicide among other negative emotions.
It amounts to waste of financial resources. Some people go to the extent of selling their personal belongings to place bets. It could also lead to family conflicts because it destroys relationship with family and friends. Gambling is also known to kill creativity and initiative of those involved with it and it limits their vision.
Nonetheless, youths must learn that financial emancipation does not lie in betting, but exploring their potentials for economic gains. Youths must get their priorities right and concentrate their energies on building capacity by developing their innate abilities. That puts them in a good stead to take advantage of the opportunities that may come their way.
The socio-cultural groups such as the Ilorin Emirate Descendants’ Progressive Union (IEDPU) have a role to play in thwarting this trend particular among the under-aged. The association must be commended for efforts in this direction, but it still has to step up action against the proliferation of these centres.
Also commendable is the recent clamp down by communities. Worried about the development, community development associations under the umbrella of Joint Development Community Association Comprising over 30 communities in Ilorin West Local Government recently clamped down on betting centres.
Though government rakes in revenue from the sector as it is a source of revenue generation, it must as well come up with regulatory frameworks to reduce exposure of young people to gambling. People must be made to understand that the probability of getting rich via gambling is low.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button