A football fan places his bet online in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAUA football fan places his bet online in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
By CITY GIRL

Sh221 million or not, still I stand my ground. Betting is for losers. This week, a “lucky man”, Mr Samuel Abisai was announced the jackpot winner of a king’s ransom of Sh221 million after betting only Sh200.

I disagree with all of you who think that Mr Abisai is lucky. He is no success story. He is not a testimony that betting works.

I, unlike many of you, neither envy nor admire him. I like to work hard for my money and young people like Abisai do not excite me. Not one bit.

We are fast hurtling into a betting-crazed society and we are sending a grossly erroneous message to young people; that you do not have to work hard for your money, all you have to do is place a bet and voila! You are rich!

By glamourising the betting industry, we are idealising a culture of laziness among young people. Yes, let us call it as it is. A man who bets is lazy and does not believe in hard work.

There is nothing to be proud about in betting and, ladies, if you are married to a man who bets, that is not a man you are married to, that is a lethargic person you are living with.

We are romanticising indolence and sluggishness and putting very little value on the hard truth; that money has to be worked for and sweated for. We are normalising the nasty, because there is nothing sweet about money you have not worked for.

Betting and gambling has historically been a reserve for the lazy and work-shy in society. It was left to the broke men who would bet and gamble to their last dime. Some of the most prolific gamblers died as paupers.

CUNNING INVESTORS

There has never been a man on this earth who got wealthy from gambling or betting. If they claim to, then they are lying, obviously. If you could get wealthy from betting and gambling, everyone would be doing it.

Men who gamble and bet are associated with taking shortcuts in life and their stories have never had a rosy ending.

Add to that the fact that betting and gambling are some of the most addictive habits, only second to drugs and alcohol. In fact, I dare say that betting is the new-age narcotics industry, because the effect is the same and the profits are off the charts.

The only difference is that the government does not tax the drugs industry.

Betting brainwashes young people into prescribing to utopian ideas in a dystopian world. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is worse than the effects of drugs.

The idea of betting was left to the lowly of society until recently when a group of cunning investors — some local and some foreign — decided to play with the minds of young people by telling them that they do not necessarily have to sweat it out in the office or in entrepreneurship.

That a Sh100 million jackpot was as palpable as their absurdity and it was only a few right predictions away.

NEW FORM OF SLAVERY

It is naïve to celebrate people who win jackpots. In fact, we need to be asking ourselves tough questions: Why is there suddenly a gold rush in the betting industry and why now?

Why is everyone who is a somebody in this country investing in the betting industry? Are they really making so much money as to give away close to 2 million dollars just like that or are we missing something here?

And if they are making all that money, is it really being channelled back to our sports industry or is it just a public relations bait?
By the way, why is the church so quiet about betting?

I am no Bible-thumping City Girl, but I know somewhere, tucked between the soft leaves of the Holy writ is a verse that declares betting a sin.

Why is the church so silent about its youth getting sucked into betting? Am I also missing something here?

Or could it be that the church is also a beneficiary of this new-age form of slavery?

Anyway. Samuel Abisai, congrats and I wish you more luck in life. I have a feeling you will need it.

Have a lucky weekend.