Globally, about 26% of the population, that is approximately 1.6 billion people gamble. If the number of betting apps constantly advertised and the number of radio and TV shows promising goodies is anything to go by Kenya is doing its best to make sure they are counted. Sports gambling by far has the largest market share in Kenya. Every radio and television station has some form of gambling-related in-house as well as paid programming in which people are promised houses, school fees, cars, and more. There are the perennial favourites, casinos for the rich and scratchers for the economic stragglers. Lately, there has been a sharp increase in online gambling sites and mobile apps.
The most egregious in my opinion has to be the in-house and paid programs on radio and TV. It goes without saying that TV stations need money, money that mainly comes in in the form of advertising so they are guaranteed to make money from shady fields like gambling companies. However, for them to set up their own gambling outfits and exploit their own audiences while still claiming to serve the people as members of the fourth estate is downright wicked. The media maintains this façade of operating in the interest of people while actively fleecing them just like any other organized thug would. That being said, let’s explore the underlying lies peddled by gambling firms and the dangers of being trapped in the said web of lies.
Lies and Myths
Myth 1: Gambling is not addictive
Fact: This could not be further from the truth. Gambling is deliberately designed to be addictive using known psychological triggers.
Myth 2: Gambling is a way to make money
Fact: There is no easy money to be made here. The house by design always wins. Each game you play has a statistical probability against you winning. All gambling heavily favours the house which is why those who own gambling firms are all fantastically wealthy while gamblers are not.
Myth 3: If you keep playing, you will eventually win
Fact: The irrational belief that you will eventually win is a powerful motivator that keeps people playing. Psychologists say that this partial reinforcement that you’ll get lucky next time is a powerful lure. The truth is the longer one plays the higher the losses.
Myth 4: If you can afford it, compulsive gambling isn’t a problem
Fact: Gambling is not just about money. It is a coping mechanism and a symptom of an underlying emotional issue. Gambling stimulates the brain and gives people a rush and an escape from daily life stressors even if it is just momentarily. You still have the problems you are trying to escape. Plus, eventually, it overtakes you in the form of addiction and you end up losing more and more money until eventually, you can’t afford it.
Myth 5: Compulsive gamblers play every day
Fact: Gambling can be continuous or episodic. It is possible to have dry periods without gambling before falling back into it.
Myth 6: Knowing a game well increases your chances of winning
Fact: This is why so many sports gamblers feel superior to other gamblers. They imagine their knowledge of the sport gives them an edge and makes it less of a gamble and more of a sure thing. A parapsychology paper comparing Know-nothing novices and experts found knowledge of the sport to be of no advantage whatsoever. In fact, when it came to soccer, people who knew nothing at all about it did better than those who lived and breathed the sport.
This also covers people who say things like they know how to count cards and so will beat the odds. You will not. The odds are solidly against you.
Myth 7: Gambling is an adult problem
Fact: Gambling is increasingly becoming a problem among the young especially with the increased accessibility through online betting sites and apps. Gambling is an even bigger problem among teens than it is among adults. Some studies suggest most gambling addicts are aged 20-30 which is still a young demographic.
Myth 8: Gambling is not addictive. You can stop when you want
Fact: Gambling is just as addictive as substances. It affects the mind the same way addictive substances affect the mind. It is just as serious as other addictions to drugs or alcohol. You may start as a light gambler but there’s no telling whether you will slide further and further into problem gambling.
Problem gambling has been linked to many dangerous consequences including:
- Financial difficulties: Including loss of money and even eventual bankruptcy and homelessness
- Troubled relationships
- Increased rates of unemployment
- Increased alcohol and drug abuse
- Increased risk of mental illness (for the person and even their family)
- Increased suicide attempts
- Poor physical health
- A decline in appearance and/or hygiene
- Increased criminal inclinations
- Increased chances of violent crimes
- Children of addicts have a higher likelihood of becoming addicts as well
Here are a few red flags to look out for to determine whether you or someone you care about is developing or has a gambling addiction:
- Neglecting daily responsibilities and hygiene.
- Using gambling to numb or avoid negative feelings.
- Lying about time and money spent gambling.
- Becoming moody when access to the internet, apps, casino, or gambling avenue is not available or is denied.
- Gambling more than you can afford to lose.
- Borrowing money to get back what is lost.
- Mood swings
- You can’t stop even though you tell yourself you will.
It’s been said that when you step foot in a casino and trade your money for chips, you’ve sold away your only advantage: staying out of the casino, to begin with. The luck you’re feeling as you open that app to place your bet is definitely all in your head. So before you place that bet think twice.
Here is information on How To Overcome Addiction