My mom's chauffeur is pretty much a member of our family. He has worked with her for a little more than 15 years and is the go-to resource for all mom-related information.
How is her health?
What's she doing this weekend?
What's her mood like?
Is she talking her meds?
He is also family man (a wife and 3 kids) and a farmer on the side. Dude lived a really good life because the farm produces about 2X his salary in additional income.
So you can imagine my surprise when I was told that "Sola" recently attempted suicide and barely survived. Apparently, Sola has had a gambling habit for years with minimal impact because of the physical cost of indulging it. To place a bet, he had to physically visit a betting booth.
Online betting changed the game and gave him access in his palm.So he began to gambler compulsively. It's like renting a brewery apartment to an alcoholic. Or giving a bale of cocaine to a drug addict.
Please note: gambling addiction is EXACTLY like drug or alcohol addiction. Most people can have a few drinks and move on, addicts can't. Compulsive gambling - Symptoms and causes
Sola's kids had to drop out of private school. His rent went unpaid. He prioritized the betting platforms above everything else. In his words, "I was living for the thrill of winning Chelsea vs West Ham."
He really got in trouble when he began to borrow to fund the habit. He never confessed to any crime but research shows consistently that gambling addiction leads to crime. Problematic gamblers are 50% more likely to commit a crime than other people according to a research by Georgia State University on gambling and crime.
Sola was taking loans at 10% interest rate per month to fund a losing proposition. He lost his farm, his family got kicked out of the house, and he got lucky that a passer-by saw him hanging from a tree and cut down the rope before he died.
This is a story that is repeated daily across Africa. Sport betting is heavily regulated in the rest of the world. It is illegal in the US. And heavily regulated across Europe.
We can debate the level and type of regulation but IT MUST BE REGULATED.
What can you do:
1. Stop feeding the beast. I had also done some sport betting in the past for fun. I have stopped. I am not supporting anything that is actively hurting people.
2. Speak up. The people pushing this scourge are wealthy but our voices are louder than theirs.
What can you do.
3. Invest, don't gamble: put the $1 or $2 you waste on gambling into a fund and marvel at the powers of compound interest.
4. Advocate. Capitalism without conscience kills societies. That's why Western democracies have strong trade and gambling regulations.
The last time I visited Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria, the landscape was cluttered with advertising for sport betting. Neighborhood were dotted with betting shops. Even governments are now held hostage by gambling moguls.
This nonsense has to stop.
For the non-compulsive gamblers.
1. You will lose your money. The only question is "when" and "how much"
2. You are supporting an industry that is ruining your community.
3. It's not an investment. I will do a thread on investment vs gambling shortly.
4. Just stop.
For the compulsive, problematic gambler.
1. Just seek help.
2. You can't stop it all by yourself. Seek help.
3. Seek help and stop.
He is doing much better. He started working again in May. My mom checks his phone everyday to make sure he is still on the "straight and narrow" (she is old school like that).
He almost lost everything. We all hope that lesson will help him resist the urge to go back.