Gambling in Africa lucrative enterprise does it worth the Addiction Cost?

Everyone agrees that the continent is the next frontier of the gaming ecosystem. The gambling industry in the region is on the rise, and especially sports’ betting is the livelihood of the African gaming ecosystem. However, still, some sectors are worried about the growing problem of addiction while some are happy about the growth of the industry.

Professional Service network, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), in their latest report on gambling in Africa, identified South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya as the African countries with the largest and fastest-growing markets in Africa with a 4-year average growth rate of 6.93 per cent, gambling in these three countries is worth around $37 billion. It estimated that by 2020-24 the African region would surpass the 40 billion dollar mark. While the gambling industry generate substantial amount of revenues to the majority of the countries in Africa, especially some countries GDP half, of it is produced through tax collected from gambling brands.

The growth of gambling in the region cannot be a success without the innovations in digital, transformations and inclusion such as Banks, FinTech, Telecos coupled with enabling infrastructural development that the area as experienced over the past decades as well as mobile phone market penetration at the same time Internet penetration. But still, the positive growth of the gambling industry raises worries about rising addiction in the continent. For example, in 2017 Dar es Salaam due to the addictive nature of gambling a fan once lost his wife while betting on a local derby match in Tanzania between Simba and Yanga, also there have been cases of students from tertiary education institutions committing suicide after gambling with is tuition fees, a student from Kenyatta University in Kenya committed suicide after losing his tuition fees on placing bets, he probably hoped to earn money in the match, but he ignores the risks.

In these regards in 2019, the Kenya government implemented specific laws and regulations that could curb problem gambling some of the legislation was to ban the advertising of gambling brands within a stipulated time on television programs to control under-age gambling. The gambling regulators of different countries reaction to gambling differs with the majority of the countries in the region are only concern about the taxes income they generate from this lucrative business. At the same time, some of the regulatory body put in charge of overseeing the gaming is not doing enough to curb and promote “Responsibly Gambling” or clampdown on illegal gambling in their countries. Social and moral concerns are playing a crucial part in shaping their approach to this blossoming industry.

Profound Solution

This section is one of the most crucial parts for Africa gaming industry, based on research it is paramount to know few gambling boards in the region as a “Responsible Gambling Foundation” that promote, educate, and do a lot of advocacy or attends to those that have a problem gambling. For the survival of these blossoms African gaming ecosystem, gaming regulators need to look into the areas of partnering with major stakeholders to put in place such foundations to promote and help those that need attention. The gaming boards should mandate gambling operators to use technology in the areas that need to tackle problem gambling such as allow an in-built technology like Artificial Intelligence to their platforms that could detect possible gambling addiction.

The governments shouldn’t focus on taxes alone but look at the harm with excessive gambling could cause as the adage says in my culture “excess of everything in life is bad”, we shouldn’t focus solely on the money involved in the gaming industry. For instance, Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had to direct the gambling board in the country not to grant new gambling license as well as not to renew those that there license is still active due to the snowballing of gambling addiction in the country which there have been battling with since 2012 which the youths are having social issues relating to under-regulated gambling. The arising numbers of punters keep growing year in year out in the region to my knowledge the region population projected to double by 2050. Urgent attention is needed to curb gambling addiction in this sector for the future of Africa gambling space is protected if not some other countries might follow suit to ban gambling.

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