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Is Sport Betting The New Addiction In Kenyan Campuses?

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The other day my buddies and I were having a random chat on how sports betting has now become an addiction across the country. My friends  unashamedly confessed their participation in the vice that seems to be sweeping over varsity campuses. Serious professionals, my friends are engineers in blue chip companies and the other a banker, the type you would not think are drawn to sport betting. Thanks to their love for the European Football League, betting seemed to have been packaged as part of the game; an extension of the culture. I was bewildered, to say the least on how betting has slid into the hearts of many, even professionals. It is not only a practice set aside for ‘hustlers’ with a penchant for easy money but has spread beyond that.These days young men and women dream of jackpots, even “Mama Mbogas” are better at analyzing football matches than TV analysts. The lure of sports betting has penetrated every realm of society.

Needless to say, the craze has caught on in campuses. If you make a point to visit university cafeterias and TV  halls over the weekends or on midweek when matches are being played, you’ll really be shocked to learn how many students attend. Everyone in campus is now interested in football, even those who never gave football the time of day. Everyone knows all the Premier League teams, league standings across the major leagues, top scorers and the match timetables so to speak. To give insight on how betting has been embedded into the hearts of many in campus is a tale of Juma, a friend from high school. We are pretty close and occasionally I’ll drop by his campus hostel to catch up over coffee. Juma was never into sports in high school, least of all football. His farthest involvement he had with football was the 2010 WorldCup held in South Africa.

On visiting his room, I was surprised at the number of exercise books lying on his table, a calculator at their side and pens he used to analyze matches. Visiting him in the evening moments after dinner, he is  hunched over in his study.  I was tempted to acknowledge his seriousness with school work only to realize that he’s scribbling down the match fixtures and thoughtfully trying to predict the winning teams. He is ever busy crunching numbers on his calculator, calculating the profits he’s bound to garner when odds come to his favor. He knows more about football than I ever will.

Juma’s tale is typical of many campus students. Unlike the street sports betting, theirs’ is somewhat professional with books, pens, and calculators  for analysis sake. Some ladies have joined the fray and can easily beat you into submission if you engage them in a football debate. Exams and tests  are never dreaded,  however daunting the semester’s courses could be. Betting comes first before some students even think of gathering around a table for group discussions. Ironically, this sports betting just like any other betting format has its luck and pitfalls. Many have lost a lot of money but aren’t ready to relinquish. Some have posted poor grades having placed betting first. The notion of making quick money is jarring.With a list of concerns, it is difficult to see this vice in a positive light.

Is betting replacing the bottle as the number one addiction across  universities?

 

This article was written by Capital Campus Contributor Luseka Socrates.

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