There's no denying the scepticism surrounding gambling, often thought to be a social vice and means of frivolous activities. However, with new markets like sports betting on the rise, this means more money, in this case, from young people in Zimbabwe.
When gambling kicked off in Zimbabwe, it was limited to horse betting, the state lottery, and odd casino. However, in recent times, with the new development of online betting sites and the general growth of the gaming industry, sports bet shops, casinos and lottery are springing up in different areas within the country’s well known urban centres. The growing thrill of football leagues around the world has provided punters with the opportunities to place bets on something they also enjoy.
The current estimate on the level of employment by the International Labour Organisation of Ghana is at 5.4%, with the daily rise in poverty, young and unemployed citizens are turning more to gambling. The club marketing manager of one of the first providers of horse race betting facilities in Zimbabwe, Mashonaland Turf Club, Chamu Mhembere said:
The industry has evolved with the advent of various players coming on board and offering diverse markets, not necessarily related to thoroughbred horse racing.
Markets, such as sport betting, are trending. Other establishments have also introduced lotteries, scratch cards and limited pay-out machine outside the confine of traditional casino settings. He explained that the arrival of fresh players tells more on the growth of the industry, adding that:
gambling has increased, particularly in the past three years, new markets like sports betting have attracted young people, bringing in new money.
Most major towns in the country are not gaming centres, with the country’s capital, Harare, being the major hub. It is not surprising to see most hotels having casinos as they welcome tourists.
However, with the growth of the economy following the thriving growth in the industry, discussions around the thriving growth in the industry is not only centered around how lucrative the industry has become, but also due to people trying to make some income by being involved in the business.
Edmos Mtetwa, a lecturer at the School of Social Works in Harare, believes that the increase in the gambling rates is a social disease motivated by economic reasons, he explained that the growth in the gaming sector will bring more socio-economic problems, Mr Mtetwa said:
It will not alleviate poverty, but instead swindle punters of hard-earned cash, in addition to breeding a generation of young people who do not know right from wrong.
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