After years of knocking, the Gambling Authority has finally opened the door for Grow Mine when the former announced the latter as winner of the country’s first lottery licence that will run for a good decade.
This means that gambling can be a controlled risk, putting the long wait for gamblers to an end. This has been a welcome development looking at the economic value attached to gambling the world over. Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods.
But with gambling comes the good and the bad.
Apart from being a recreational activity, gambling increases aggregate demand for goods and services in the economy. Some of the money generated from gambling goes directly toward stimulating the economy.
There are going to be spin-offs into the economy from gambling such as employment creation. A certain percentage of the lottery proceeds will be donated to the National Lottery Fund to benefit the creative industry, the youth and other sectors, which is a bonus for social responsibility. The lottery will also create citizen millionaires when Lady Luck smiles upon the risk-taker. However, we should be mindful of the negatives that come along with the risk of a wager. First, gambling, takes money from breadwinners, which at times a bit of the monies made goes to a few of the winners while the rest goes to paying for casino operations or, in this case, sports wagering operations.
And while some would argue that gambling is a recreational activity, this ignores the enormous social cost. Research has found that problem gambling increases, as gambling opportunities become plenty with problem gamblers making up a large percentage of casino revenues.
Gambling problems can happen to anyone from any walk of life. Gambling can grow from a fun, harmless diversion to an unhealthy obsession with serious consequences. Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots – in a casino, at the track, or online – a gambling problem can strain your relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial disaster. One may even do things one never deemed possible, like running up huge debts or even stealing to make the next bet.
If one were to be preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences in life, then one would definitely have a gambling problem.Then there is gambling addiction. If one were a compulsive gambler, they would keep gambling regardless of the consequences – even when one knows that the odds are against them and cannot afford to lose.
A gambling addiction or problem is often associated with other behaviour or mood disorders. Many problem gamblers also suffer with substance abuse issues.
With all these problems, there is need to strike a balance between the good and the bad that come along with gambling. There is need for practical interventions. The Gambling Authority must engage counsellors to deal with excessive gamblers from becoming addicts. There is also need to build a rehabilitation facility as well as set up a monitoring tool to identify gamblers who are reaching addiction stage.
“Quit while you’re ahead. All the best gamblers do.”