Simon Kithuka, shopkeeper in Nairobi’s Eastlands has been betting consistently for the last two years, at least 3 times a day.
“It starts off as fun, but then later you discover you are addicted,” Kithuka said.
They 25-year old who earns Sh10,000 a month admits that he has lost more times than he has won.
He one time used his boss’s money to gamble and lost it. Thankfully he didn’t check the balance that day. He had to borrow money elsewhere and gamble again in order to recover it.
“Out of sheer luck, I managed to recover the lost money and earned an extra Sh1,000. However, I made up my mind to quit gambling since it could cost my job,” Kithuka narrated.
The average income for youth associated with betting ranges between Sh5,000-Sh10,000.
According to a study by Transunion Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), 316,455 people in 600,000 have been blacklisted for defaulting loan balances of less than Sh100 linked with mobile money.
A Geopoll rapid survey for Kenya revealed that mobile use for gambling is at 96 percent. More than 54 percent of youth are active gamblers. According to the survey, most bet once a week spending about sh.5000 per month.
In a meeting with stakeholders, Interior CS Fred Matiangi noted that over 500,000 Kenyans blacklisted by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) over defaults in repaying loans are gamblers.
Gambling companies have been noted to target desperate low income or jobless youth seeking income opportunities. Dr. Matiang’i revealed that about 90 percent of percent of investors in the betting firms are foreigners who take most if their revenue back to their home countries. said
“We will not allow other people to come and spoil our youth doing unlawful business in Kenya,” Matiang’i said.’
ALSO READ: Why Matiang’s is opposed to betting
The CS directed Immigration Principal secretary Gordon Kihalangwa to revise the working permits of foreigners who have invested in the betting industry.
Interior CS Dr.@FredMatiangi addressed a stakeholders forum organised by the Betting Control and Licencing Board at @KSGKenya, Kabete, regarding the proliferation of uncontrolled gambling, its consequent social harm, and the government’s position going forward. pic.twitter.com/LWUmJUQhTH
— Ministry of Interior (@InteriorKE) May 20, 2019
He warned that deportation orders will be issued to foreign investors who will be on the forwarded list from the Immigration Department.