The Making of the Nation of Gamblers

By Juma Fred / August 1, 2016

There is a certain advert doing rounds on some of the popular television channels we’re endowed with here in Kenya that requires one to register with 50 shillings via M-PESA to ‘stand a chance to win a cow’.

I did not know that gambling in Kenya has now gone a notch hire to include gambling for animals. The only thing that I was aware about was that of predicting matches as well as buying of lottery tickets. That of gambling to win a cow caught me unaware.

With more than 20 known gambling agencies in Kenya at the moment, it is justifiable, to say, without any fear of contradiction that Kenya has become a nation of gamblers.

It begun with Safaricom’s promotions such as Tetemesha. By then, those who took part in it did not know that it was one form of gambling.

At the moment, gambling has taken the center stage of almost everything in Kenya especially among the young generation.

After the end of the Euro 2016, which many football gamblers considered as the most unpredictable season and in which betting firms like Sportpesa harvested billions of shillings, sport lovers are now gearing up for the Premier League which sets off this coming weekend.

People no longer watch games for fun but watch them for a living, an investment and most of them are becoming poor. Most young people especially in universities and colleges are using their money for gambling which according to psychologists, it is addictive.

Sportpesa Out of Kenya

Sportpesa began as an idea two years ago. It was an idea born in Kenya. The betting firm has now become a force to reckon with both within and without. Thanks to the Kenyan spirit of betting without ceasing, the firm has been able to sponsor some local teams like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. It is also the major sponsor of Sportpesa Premiere League, formerly known as the Kenya Premiere League.

Last week, Sportpesa entered into a multimillion contract sponsoring Hull City as it starts its operation for the first time in Europe.

Other firms like Betika, Betin, Mcheza, Elitebet, Beltway, Kenya Sports Bet, Betpawa Kenya, Lotto and Pambazuka continue making millions in Kenya as the gambling sector takes over the country by storm.

Lotto and Pambazuka have been holding draws of up to 100 million shillings awarding their lucky winners.

The Economy Vs Gambling

Current gambling is like a double edged sword that cuts both sides. On one side, the economy is favored and on the other side, it is compromised.

Betting firms in Kenya are registered and this means that the Government is able to collect revenue from them. This revenue is then used in the developing of other economic sectors.

Some of these firms like Sportpesa and of late Pambazuka have been involved in corporate social responsibilities (CSR) like supporting of teams as well as building of some infrastructures.

On the negative side, the betting process is addictive. The young generation in Kenya, made up of the poor and the jobless is now becoming hooked to gambling. The end result will be the breeding of a nation of gambling zombies who cannot do anything productive but just sitting and waiting for free things to come their way.


About Juma Fred

Juma Fredrick is an enthusiastic journalist who believes that journalism has power to change the world either negatively or positively depending on how one uses it. You can reach him on: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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