Kenyans spend or more accurately squander hundreds of millions of shillings monthly gambling, mostly through sports betting and jackpots, TV/radio lotteries and less commonly in casinos. This is a great shame on our nation. The jackpots and TV/radio lotteries methodically present stupendous amounts of money to be won, which makes them more bewitching. Is playing the jackpots and TV/radio lotteries worth the long shot?

Is playing the jackpots and TV/radio lotteries worth the long shot?

Absolutely NOT! Here are some reasons why I believe Kenyans should stop gambling their money away.

  1. It’s sort of a pyramid scheme: Do you remember the numerous cases of pyramid schemes where Kenyans are promised riches if they deposit their money and invest in the schemes? Or the quail eggs idea, the Pastor Kanyari idea of sending money to him and earning more through miracles? Well, sports betting, jackpots and TV/radio lotteries operate in a parallel manner. You have to send them money and hope that the money will multiply itself for your rewards.
  2. It is an idiot’s quest: The probability of forecasting a result in one game is one in three. Now, to win a jackpot, one has to predict correctly all 13 games on offer. This means the odds are now reduced to 1 in 1,594,323 (one in 1.5 million!!). It is also important to note that these odds exclude other significant factors such as match fixing, home advantage for some teams, refereeing decisions such as red cards, penalties and offside decisions, fatigue in players, suspension or injuries to key players or change in coaching staff. If all these factors are included, the odds will be reduced further to probably 1 in 10 million. TV/Radio lotteries (Shinda Mamilli etc) are no better. It is estimated the chance of winning any of them is 1 in 176 million. The occasional winners or bonuses given out are merely a fog used to clog the gambler’s vision from reality.
  3. The system is fabricated such that the ‘house’ wins: The difference between this form of gambling and the karata or pata potea played by conmen in the streets is that this is legalised and made more glamorous by its marketing and the huge incentives it offers. The house controls the action such that it always wins and even occasionally winners must eventually lose more than they have won overall.
  4. It takes advantage of people’s need to make money: Sports betting and lotteries are engineered such that they sell hope and feed people’s greed for richness through the idea of getting super rich quickly. Most Kenyans live on less than a dollar a day and would do anything to add that extra coin to their almost empty pockets. The owners of these companies recognise this and take full advantage.
  5. It makes people become simple-minded and lazy: A recent survey suggested that at least 50% of chronic gamblers presupposed that they can fund huge enterprises, build homes and businesses after winning huge money and converting it to capital. I have researched everywhere on the internet and I’m yet to read an article of a business mogul or filthy rich billionaire who funded his idea or company through winning lotteries, jackpots or sports betting. The super rich individuals make their money through identifying niches in the market, coming up with brilliant ideas, working their ass off and patiently persevering through months and years of ups and downs till their story becomes a success story. There is no short cut to gaining wealth.
  6. It crushes people’s spirits: Occasionally, we have heard cases of gamblers committing suicide after placing their hopes in the bet, and as expect, losing the bet. Gamblers are more often than not sweating bullets. The unease in their chosen mode of ‘making money’ guarantees that they lose concentration on what’s important to them like their daily hustles, loved ones, and lifestyle. When results of lotteries or matches in their jackpot bets or regular bets transpire, their vitality is time and again shattered. The consequences are exorbitant; pulverised disposition and dreams, poor relationship with loved ones, stalling of careering among others. The thought of a chronic loser who experiences this daily makes my heart bleed.

To conclude, as a nation, we need to ask ourselves stern questions. Can we afford to be a gambling nation? Is it worth the pain? Why are we so gullible to plunge ourselves into such schemes? A friend of mine who regularly loses money through sports betting argued that even if he loses his money to a very popular betting company, the same money is used to sponsor KPL and his popular team. In a rejoinder, I asked him if he felt satisfied that only a microscopic amount of the massive amount the company gets is used to sponsor his team and the league.

He had no answer.

I place confidence in the fact that using your money to support the league by paying gate fees or buying a team’s merchandise is more satisfying than swindling yourself that the lost money will find itself into the accounts of your favourite team.  What sports betting and tv/radio lotteries offer is a fata morgana that’s onerous to earn wings.

Guest post submitted by Ian Njogu, a fifth electrical engineering student at the University of Nairobi.


  • Posted March 8, 2017 12:55 pm 0Likes
    peter katololo

    Most of our youths find a living from the little odds that fly in on their favor..

  • Posted August 6, 2017 10:27 pm 0Likes

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