Malawi Gaming Board Urges Youth to Focus More in Education

Lilongwe –Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) has advised all youths under 18 to work hard in education instead of engaging in gambling activities. Local media has reported that underage gambling is now a recent phenomenon activity for many in different designated places across the country.

Thus the MGB is a parastatal organization mandated to regulate the gambling industry in Malawi. The board’s responsibility is to issue licenses to people who run gambling businesses and collect taxes. Speaking in an interview, senior Compliance Officer Miriam Kumbuyo said most of the youth in the country waste much time playing games in casinos and betting outlets instead of going to school.

“The youth concentrate much on gaming houses instead of working hard on education.”

Further said, the youth must know that betting is an addiction, not a business, so people should not invest their money in betting because they can lose it all.

However, this report of underage gambling and youth deviating from education has become a significant cause for concern for Malawian authority. Therefore, in Africa, in general, underage gambling and addiction are not new phenomena that are becoming a cause for concern in Africa. The report in recent years has not been encouraging, countries such as Kenya and Nigeria Rwanda, among others. Even though the gambling industry in Africa is on the rise, and sports betting has become a livelihood for some African youth. Still, some sectors are worried about the growing problem of addiction and underage gambling, while some are happy about the industry’s growth.

Moreover, to have a sustainable industry, operators may need to self regulate this passing matter and rather focus on the lifetime value of players.

Instead of exploiting the vulnerable in the society- for instance, a case 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 students from tertiary education institutions committing suicide after gambling with his 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. However, he ignores the risks.

The recent tax situation that arose in Kenya partly backlash from the legislature resulted from operators’ unbridled activity as being dangerous to its youthful population. Another case study in Rwanda- due to the influx of under-age gambling, the government had to act, by reducing the numbers of gaming license in essence stop issuing new license so as curb influx and mange the sector properly.

Undoubtedly, the industry is a billion-dollar industry today beyond self regulation of operators’ regulators; especially Africa should be the key drivers of responsible gambling. Responsible gambling should be a cardinal policy of any regulator’s mandate. It is high time notable regulators take the part of promoting responsible gambling and kick against underage from betting using the appropriate tools and technology and not just focus on tax revenue. Hopefully, I believed the Malawian authority finds a timing solution and appropriately approach this menace.

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