The practice of gambling isn’t a recent development. It has been and proceeds to be an activity in which many people participate, regardless of age, and can be found anywhere, from the glowing slots games in casino rooms to the game of “dice” played on a random street corner. However, because smartphones have made online gambling significantly more accessible, this form of gambling is becoming an even more appealing choice for those who are interested in trying their luck.
The use of social media, and Twitter, in particular, has evolved into a forum through which younger people frequently discuss their individual gambling experiences. These are younger people who participate in gambling activities on various online platforms, such as Lottostar, Betway, Hollywoodbets, and World Sports Betting, for instance.
A significant number of these youthful people are constantly placing bets on football games. They are not shy about discussing it, even going so far as to share screenshots of their victories. However, what has been decidedly off are the narratives that go in the opposite direction. What about the other people who are gambling online but coming out empty-handed?
Repercussions on a Psychological Level
One can argue that there is a sort of skewed perception of addiction, which varies from addiction to addiction. However, addiction remains a phenomenon. Addictions to drugs or alcohol are generally viewed in a much more favorable light by society than are addictions to food or sexual activity. Those topics are off-limits. Even though gambling addictions are now being recognized for what they rightfully are — addictions — some people still find it difficult to accept that an individual would spend the majority of their income, if not all of it, on something that is solely dependent on chance.
A clinical psychologist with a practice in Pretoria named Keitumetse Disemelo explains that addiction is a condition that consists of a lot of different moving parts. “It has an effect on one’s everyday functioning, and control is absent in avoiding the particular behavior,” she says.
“Individuals become reliant on this behavior and make impulsive decisions despite the unfavorable repercussions that they are conscious of. Denial is another essential component of the addictive process.
She then goes on to break down numerous variables that, in her opinion, appear to be fueling the rising trend among youngsters to switch to internet gambling. Specifically, she focuses on the rise of eSports betting as one of these factors.
“It’s not just a matter of how easily these platforms can be accessed. The current state of South Africa’s economy, in conjunction with the pandemic, as well as the stresses that the younger generation is experiencing, are crucial. They are subjected to high rates of poverty and unemployment, as well as daily trauma, all of which contribute to their increased interest in these platforms.
In the shadows, addiction can flourish. We have to let the cat out of the bag if we want to effectively sensitize our culture to the increasing stranglehold that online gambling is having on the youth of South Africa.
It’s About Getting Away From a Reality That’s Already Pretty Bleak for Many People
According to Disemelo, compulsion is a trait that is shared by all forms of addiction. “To begin, the addict must have the desire to receive help. Second, it is essential that the family recognizes it as a mental illness and is aware that it frequently coexists with other conditions, such as extreme anxiety or depression. This is because both of these conditions can exacerbate the symptoms of the disorder.
“The family must be supportive, and it is also important to understand that the addiction can’t be overcome overnight.” It is also a possibility to work toward removing the factors that contribute to the behavior. Taking away access to the internet, for instance, would put an end to gambling online.
Preying on Impressionable Young People
The house always comes out on top. This is a common proverb or saying. Odds and probabilities are the foundation of every variation of gambling. The casino, or “house,” always comes out on top, even though there have been people who have risen from abject poverty to win huge jackpots. The typical gambler continues to wager money in the hope that any given day will turn out to be their lucky one.
The impacts of sports betting in Uganda were the subject of a documentary produced by BBC Africa Eye. The documentary, which is hosted by Collins Mahinda, 25, an unemployed graduate, focuses on how large betting enterprises target vulnerable communities. These communities are places where joblessness is widespread, and young individuals are desperate to have access to some type of income. Africa is currently the last emerging market for these major businesses, and profit is innately the bottom line.
Even though there are established rules and guidelines for gambling online, some of them can be sidestepped with relative ease. When establishing a profile on many different betting platforms, the only thing that is required is to check a box; no other verification of the user’s age is necessary. This is in contrast to traditional casinos, which can ask gamblers for identification to verify that they are at least 18 years old. In addition, “free credit” upon registration as well as the purposeful lack of a rating for these gambling websites in terms of their data usage are tools that are used to further entice young people to use these platforms.
Requests for data regarding active South African users on each platform and what each company’s social responsibility regulations are were not answered by either Betway or World Sports Betting, despite multiple attempts. However, a preliminary analysis of South African traffic to Betway and Hollywoodbets between September and November 2021 reveals that the sites are ranked sixteenth and sixth in the country among mobile and desktop users. This finding was made possible by the fact that the data was collected during the aforementioned period. On the other hand, World Sports Betting is placed at position 292, according to the rankings.
When discussing topics of this nature, particularly those that are known to have clear repercussions on socioeconomic conditions, the discussion must always begin by focusing on the people who will be most adversely impacted. It is necessary to discuss issues regarding the regulation of industries and the role of the government in protecting its citizens. In addition, secrecy fosters the growth of addiction. We have to let the cat out of the bag if we want to effectively sensitize our civilization to the increasing stranglehold that online gambling is having on the youth of South Africa.