By Adama Tine
One of the fastest ways to disintegrate a society is giving free rein to gambling and its related menaces, as it is against the norms and values of both Islam and Christian teachings and doctrines.
During a vox pop conducted by Mamos Media around some betting centres around the Greater Banjul Area over the weekend, it was indicated that when a person spends his whole earnings and time in casinos and football betting centers, then it would not be long until his family and societal life begins to suffer considerably.
“The sad part is with the rise of football betting centers in the Gambia, young people especially students spend their lunch break money on gambling,” said one of the anonymous respondents.
He said eventually, this will begin affecting their performance and attendance in school and also lead to drop out cases and mass illiteracy, ultimately leading to the birth of a whole lot of vices and menaces to society.
Since the resumption of the business of betting after it was banned in 2015 by ex-President Yahya Jammeh, it has now regained momentum and is attracting many people.
A source disclosed to Mamos Media that before betting centers were banned in the country, students used their fares or even school fees on games especially soccer betting. He said the students will leave their houses, put on their uniforms and carry their bags and go to betting centers where they will spend the whole day.
Justifying betting, the anonymous source revealed that gambling centers created employment for many people most of whom would have been out of job without the gambling centers.
“I won D3,700 with a D25 ticket,” another young man said, adding that he used that money to buy a bag of rice for his family and gave the rest to his mother for fish money.
Another anonymous source said; “pupils as young as 13 years are often seen betting at betting centers during school hours.”
Sheikh Jallow, Marketing Manager for Gambibet Company said, betting is an easy way to earn money, noting that many people have positively made it through bets. He added that betting is international and any player who won, no matter how much the amount is will be paid cash without delay.
“We have over 150 sub agents and 25 staff members who were receiving nothing less than 15,000 per month,” Jallow said, adding; “We have two types of games (football and PMU). This year some people have won up to D150, 000 in our bet. The money will help the players to solve some of their problems”, he further said.
Musa Jallow, a 27-year-old man, revealed that there are huge benefits in betting, saying with a ticket of D25 one can win up to D500, 000. “I have won D60,000 in different games,” he said.
Jallow added that the challenge associated with addicted betting is engagement in illegal activities such as stealing. He said sometimes he will invest people’s money with the hope of winning and it was unsuccessful. “Playing bet can make people lose trust and confidence in you,” he said.
Jallow said, he once used D7, 000 his brother had given him to deposit at a bank and lost and he was therefore kicked out of the compound.
Buba Manneh, a-54-year old native of Bundung Borehole described betting as income earning, saying he bets because to get a job that pays well in this country is hard.
“Many people bought their houses through bets and also feed their families through betting,” Buba said.
“I have never won a huge amount at once but I win amounts ranging from D5, 000 to D10, 000. Betting has helped me and my family a lot during different moments”, he stated.