The regulation of gambling in Kenya has led to the closing down of gambling dens and the offering of online gambling services which has increased the ease with which one can place bets. Kenya reportedly has the highest number of young people in sub-Saharan Africa who gamble frequently (age 17-35). Also it is estimated that 78% of all Kenya university students were problem gamblers.
Government attempts to control the gambling by taxing winnings up to 20%. It is suggested that these attempts fail to understand the psychology behind problem gambling.
Whilst millions of people use gambling as a form of entertainment, for many gambling becomes an obsession.
Problem gamblers gamble with more money than they can afford to lose, and experience other adverse consequences in their lives due to the gambling.
The illusion of control over a game driven chance is the core belief that influences the disordered thinking of problem gamblers
Beliefs like certain machines are ‘lucky’ or due for a big win. A near win is seen as sign that a win in imminent. Selective recall of winnings rather than losses is common place for problem gamblers.
To meet the criteria for gambling disorder, a person has to have at least four of the problems identified below, within a 12 month period, in conjunction with “persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behaviour”
- Needing to gamble with more money to get the same excitement from gambling as before
- Feels reckless or irritable when trying to reduce or stop gambling
- Keeps trying to reduce or stop gambling without success
- Gambling is frequently on the persons mind – both reliving past gambling experiences, and planning future gambling events
- Gambles when feeling depressed, guilty or anxious
- Tries to win back gambling lossess
- Tries to cover up how much they are gambling
- Loses not only money, but also relationships, their job, or a significant career opportunity as a result of gambling
- Becomes dependent on other people to give them money to deal with financial problems that have been caused by gambling.