CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF GAMBLING AMONG YOUTHS IN NIGERIA

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CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF GAMBLING AMONG YOUTHS IN NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION

In recent times, the economic hardship in Nigeria is becoming unbearable, most people are finding it difficult to meet their basic needs. Unemployment and underemployment rate is on the increase, business is collapsing and depression rate is increasing daily which all result to people involving in different risky behaviour to survive. One of the risky behaviour is gambling which has been reported to be related to some criminal related behaviour (Oyebisi, Alao, &Popoola, 2012). Gambling has become an activity that most Nigerian youths and adolescents engaged in, sites for legal gambling have been established and the internet has made gambling accessible to almost everyone which also have high impacts on them. There is also increase in media coverage of sporting events which has also contributed to a significant increase in sports betting in Nigeria. Many adolescents, youth, young adult, educated and non-educated Nigerians are involve in one form of gambling or the other. Gambling has become part of mainstream culture through the entertainment, leisure, sport, and tourism industries and it is a significant source of revenue to governments and private enterprise. It also comes in different forms `ranging from sport betting

and prediction, lottery, Baba Ijebu, pool, casino betting and virtual games. Gambling also encompasses a source of harm and concern to some Nigerians due to its negative impact on individuals, families and communities through problem gambling. While most people handle recreational gambling in a controlled way, many get addicted. It is therefore essential that gambling and problem gambling are well understood, and that the regulation of gambling at individual, community, industry and government levels is well informed. Gambling is the act of playing a game or taking a risky action for money or a desired outcome (e.g., a prize). It is defined as staking of money on the outcome of games or events involving chance or skill” (Slade and McConville, 2003). It is the exchange of property (usually money but sometimes other property including slaves, ears and fingers) on the outcome of an event largely, if not solely, determined by chance (Allcock, 2000). It is also defined as wagering money or other belongings on chance activities or events with random or uncertain outcomes (National Research Council, 1999). It is the betting or wagering of valuables on events of uncertain outcome” (Devereux, 1979).

Gambling is of various pattern which are wagering and betting which involve placing a bet or wager on the outcome of an event such as a sporting event or race; gaming which involve placing bets on games that are constrained by mathematically predetermined rules and theoretical returns of players (gaming machines and casino table games) and lottery style games such as Cross-Lotto, Powerball, Pools, scratch tickets and keno, all of which award prizes based on the selection of winning symbol or number combinations.

The prevalence rate of gambling is higher in some countries than others, and it may be explained by cultural, economic, political, and legal factors. Population surveys show that around 70-80% of the Australian adult population gambles at least once per year (Productivity Commission, 2009). Approximately 60 per cent of adults gamble on lotteries, a third on scratch tickets, 30 per cent on gaming machines, 20 per cent on racing, and 10 per cent or less on other forms including casino table games and sports betting (Delfabbro & Le Couteur, 2009). Gambling participation rates vary significantly according to age and gender. Men are typically more likely than women to gamble on sports, racing, casino card games and racing, whereas few sex differences in participation tend to be observed in relation to gaming machines and lotteries (Productivity Commission, 2009) Research has highlighted that around three quarters of the population in the United Kingdom (72%) have gambled (National Centre for Social Research, 2000). Also a high prevalence of gambling participation and problem gambling has been found among youths in different university student populations, mainly in studies in high income countries (Etel, Tabchi, Bou Khalil, Hlais and Richa,2013; McComb and Hanson, 2009; Mubaraka and Blanksbya, 2013; Tozzi, Akre, Fleury-Schubert and Suris, 2013).

However, in Nigeria, Gambling is regulated by National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) which is empowered by the National Lottery Act, 2005 to regulate betting lottery. According to the survey report released by NOIPolls (2017), gambling and betting are becoming very popular in Nigeria, particularly amongst the country’s bulging youth population and sports fans. A significant proportion of Nigerians polled (77 percent) attested to the high prevalence of betting and gambling in their locality; particularly amongst respondents in the South-West (92 percent)

and South-South (91 percent) geo-political zones which recorded the highest prevalence. Also, the top four betting platforms identified by Nigerians are: Bet9ja (64 percent), Nairabet (34 percent), Pool (22 percent) and Lotto (20 percent). Similarly, betting has become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years, who accounted for the highest proportion of Nigerians who engage in the practice. Nigeria youth especially undergraduates are engaging themselves in gambling as a means of surviving; this is an intricate issue of special concern as this behaviour may predispose them to pathological/compulsive gambling (Oyebisi, Alao, &Popoola, 2012). Evidence suggests that problem and non-problem gamblers have similar motivations to gamble but the motivational strength differs for problem gamblers. In particular, winning money (chasing losses) and relieving tension, stress and emotional distress are implicated in promoting continued gambling (Clarke, Tse, Abbott, Townsend, Kingi, & Manaia, 2007; Platz & Millar, 2001). However, there are many reasons why people gamble. These may be broadly classified under two non-mutually exclusive types of motivation: the desire for positively reinforcing subjective excitement and arousal; and the desire for the negatively reinforcing relief or escape from stress or negative emotional states. Both social and monetary reward expectancies facilitate gambling and capacity to enhance or regulate positive affect (Shead & Hodgins, 2009). By its very nature, gambling represents an opportunity to win money, and subject to the potential size of the prize, to change one’s lifestyle. The prospect of winning large prizes (expectancies of reward) generates excitement by allowing participants to dream and fantasise about the impact that such a windfall would have on their work, finances, leisure, and capacity to support immediate family members. Smaller wins are also exciting since these provide a gain to the player and enable further gambling in pursuit of larger wins.

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