The Stream

What’s the social impact of Africa’s sports betting boom?

On Wednesday, April 19 at 19:30 GMT:
Sports betting has grown in popularity across sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, with the rise of mobile money apps and online betting platforms making it even simpler for people to gamble.

But as betting companies reap profits in markets across the continent, researchers, psychologists and gambling support groups warn that the ease with which people can place bets is pushing many into life-altering debt and harming their mental health.

recent study led by researchers in Ghana, Malawi and the UK found that governments across sub-Saharan Africa are failing to meet the challenges posed by rapid expansion of both betting shops and online gambling platforms. The team found that only two out of 41 countries they surveyed had published reports into the social and economic impacts of gambling.

Betting companies have invested heavily in advertising aimed at tempting people to gamble for a better future, prompting calls for tighter government regulation of the gambling industry. In countries such as KenyaUganda, and South Africa where there is high unemployment and a lack of secure job prospects, sports betting is increasingly viewed as a way to get money to make ends meet – or even generate life-changing income in the event of a big win. In some cases, users have placed online wagers using funds from third-party lending apps, trapping them in a debt spiral in the event of a losing bet.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the rise of sports betting in sub-Saharan Africa and its impact on individuals and families.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Sibongile Simelane-Quntana, @SARGFoundation
Executive Director, The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation

Junious Sichali, @JuniousSichali
Social Scientist, Malawian Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (MEIRU)

Nelson Bwire, @RGF_Kenya
Programs Officer, The Responsible Gaming Federation of Kenya