Gamban: Innovation tackling gambling addiction now in Kenya

Battling any form of addiction is no easy task, especially when it becomes ingrained into the fabric of society. For most people, gambling can be a form of entertainment, but for others, it can cause significant harm.

For Jack Symons, overcoming his gambling addiction led him to develop a solution. Having previously exhausted all of the available options at the time, from parental control solutions to even chopping up his debit and credit cards when he became fearful of the financial damage he was causing himself.

Launched in 2016, Gamban blocks access to gambling sites and apps across, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. The firm is now rolling out in Kenya, due to the growing proliferation of gambling harm and lack of protective offerings from gambling operators.

The firm also plans to introduce the product in other African countries.

Jack Symons

It is a mental health solution that reduces gambling harm regardless of the jurisdiction. The Gamban team made a collective decision to roll out a specific landing page for Kenyan users which offers access to the software for a free seven-day trial for those that have been severely impacted. Kenya has one of the largest African online gambling markets, with the global pandemic appearing to have further fast tracked the growth of the sector. According to research conducted by Geopoll in 2018, Kenya has the highest number of gambling youths aged between 17-35 years in Sub Saharan Africa. A high internet penetration has aided growth in gambling.

Gamban is working with the Responsible Gaming Federation of Kenya under the leadership of Mr Weldon Koros to help drive positive social impact and help build the early foundations of harm minimisation in Kenya.

Whilst gambling operators say they have made a positive impact in the Kenyan economy through revenue generation and job creation, they ignore the far-reaching negative implications that such growth brings about. A survey by KARF in 2017 found that gambling operators in Kenya promote a ‘rags to riches’ narrative by marketing gambling as an alternative income stream.


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