‘I’ll gamble less if i get a job!’ Youths now turn to gambling

Unemployment is a pressing concern among the youth, particularly in Nairobi County. Many graduates are grappling with the harsh reality of being jobless despite their qualifications.

As a result, an increasing number of young individuals are turning to alternative means of making a living, with betting and gambling taking center stage as their choice of survival, as John Matua, a 21-year-old, shared.

John’s story is a familiar one.

“I’ve always been a football enthusiast, so betting on the leagues seemed natural. I initially turned to betting as a way to make ends meet while I was still in school. But even after school, it stuck with me. What began as an occasional bet soon transformed into a lifestyle,”

– said Matua, who resides in Kibera, Nairobi.

He acknowledges the risks that come with betting.

“It’s a rollercoaster; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But you have to keep at it, and watching all those games can be incredibly time-consuming,” – Matua added.

Enock Njau, another Nairobi resident, echoes similar sentiments.

“Betting is thrilling and competitive. The prospect of winning is incredibly enticing. I don’t dwell on the losses. I started betting back in high school to make some extra cash, but now it’s essentially a full-time job. I just need to ensure my predictions are spot on,” – he shared.

He also points out that betting keeps him engaged and worry-free.

“Maybe if I secure a full-time job, I’ll gamble less.”

Betting has become a primary source of income for many young Kenyans. They are drawn to the excitement and competitiveness it offers, with the allure of winning keeping them hooked. For some, it’s more than just a side gig – it’s a career. However, it’s worth noting that the popularity of betting in Kenya is noticeably higher among men than women.

Kenyan bettors have set a record by wagering a staggering Sh88.5 billion online in the year leading up to June 2023, despite the government’s attempts to regulate and tax the industry. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) managed to rake in Sh6.64 billion in excise taxes from gaming companies, thanks to a new 7.5 percent tax on wagered amounts. This data underscores how gambling has transformed from a mere pastime into a full-fledged economic activity for countless Kenyans.

The persistence of high youth unemployment rates in Kenya, coupled with the rising popularity of betting, underlines the pressing need for job creation and economic opportunities for the younger generation. While betting may offer a temporary reprieve for some individuals, addressing the root causes of unemployment and providing avenues for skill development and stable employment should remain a top priority for the Kenyan government and society.

Source: nairobinews.nation.africa

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