Gambling With Gambling

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Do you gamble? Do you like it? Are you addicted to gambling? Is it possible to be addicted to gambling? How can you know whether you are addicted?

There is a way to find out if you are addicted to gambling. If or when you find yourself gambling not as a way of having fun but because you just cannot resist the urge, then it might be time to look for help. In order to deeply understand how gambling addiction works, it is of essence to look at how addiction works. Any kind of addiction - not only the common-drug addiction - works by making the individual unable to control their urge to engage in what they are addicted to, despite harmful consequences. This negatively impacts their well being, their finances as well as their relationships.

Gambling addiction involves compulsion to seek out gambling, betting and wagering and the end result can be devastating for the gambler and their family.

I remember while I was in campus, one of my fellow students had used all his tuition fees to gamble in the hope of gaining ‘quick money’. Unfortunately, he lost all the money - which was meant to cover tuition fees for the whole semester. He ended up committing suicide… May his soul Rest in Peace. No words can explain the pain and anguish this brought to his family. All the hope they had in him had vanished like smoke on thin air.

Gambling may come as a fun activity but it usually ends up being addictive. It is important to understand that one may not realize they are addicted to gambling. Gambling is a far deeper issue beyond our imagination and needs to be taken seriously. Some people may realize that they are actually addicted to gambling and opt not to reveal their situation due to guilt and shame. These people may find themselves in deep financial problems and decide to gamble some more in the hope of solving the financial problem they caused in the first place by gambling. This may lead to delay in recovery and treatment and in turn cause other bigger problems like loss of jobs, relationship instability and huge amounts of debt.

The gambler may end up suffering from depression, anxiety and mood swings due to the fact that their emotions are dependent on the outcome and the effect of gambling which are usually mostly negative. These people need counseling and financial coaching to fully recover.

Closer home - Here in Kenya, gambling has taken over the poor ignorant vulnerable people like a plague. Young energetic men are no longer as intentional in looking for better jobs to sustain them for longer; they opt to get any odd jobs they can easily do without a hustle, get paid quickly and use the money to gamble in the hope of changing their lifestyle and becoming millionaires overnight. We have lost a sense of hard work, the reward of enjoying the fruits of our labor as our elder generation did back in the day. We have become a society where by ‘having’ means more than ‘being’. We are slowly losing the value of work in the pursuit of quick money, which often is not usually guaranteed rather, we lose the money as quick as we earned it.

Gambling is a game of chance, and the chance is usually one in a million - more like looking for a needle in a haystack, a very hard work especially for someone who wants to get something quick by doing nothing. We need to do what is fulfilling. No matter how little or insignificant what we do may seem to others, if we do it to perfection while giving it our best, there is nothing as fulfilling as the results - knowing that you gave your best to achieve your goal.

We can stop the gambling menace with the right counseling and a change of mindset. However, there-lies some challenges like the valid concern about the gambling advertisements on every corner of the streets in Kenya, on every TV and radio stations, on huge billboards in towns, some advertisements pops up in our smartphones, in Matatus (Public service vehicles), in that site that we watch our favourite new movies without paying a dime, the advertisements are literally everywhere!  This clearly makes me realize that it is a very lucrative business – at the moment.  People are making huge amounts of moneys from people who are as greedy as they are, those who are out there to get money without doing anything. Who is losing here? You need to ask yourself that question before you start gambling. Would someone just take millions of money and give it out for free to people who play and win on the games they have set themselves? What are your chances of winning?

Legalizing gambling has caused breaking of families, increased violence, parents are losing their jobs and children dropping out of schools, community economic costs including drastically increasing rates of unemployment, fraud, forgery, increased substance abuse, bankruptcy and sale of property.

Some people still believe that gambling will pay off some day, that maybe. Just maybe they are the next big winners. Others believe that only gambling can save them from the deep financial problem it got them into - which they are ashamed of. Others make a resolution to quit and give out promises they are unable to fulfill, they keep hoping that one day they shall win their way out of all the problems they are facing. Some are deceived further by winning once in a while until the loss becomes unbearable again. They are scared of quitting because they feel that quitting now means they are losers that gave up easily. The agony!

Gambling is meant to be a means of recreation. A recreational activity is supposed to be relaxing, refreshing and fun, but gambling is the total opposite. It is a mentally tormenting activity making one anxious of the outcome, risking more money and wasting more time further increasing anxiety which slowly builds up to depression and other bigger problems.


Proscovia Alando



  • Commonwealth Shared Scholar 2018-19
  • University of Stirling - Institute of Aquaculture.

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