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Who will save our Varsity students from sports betting menace?

By Gibbs Alexx | August 4th 2016

Hillary Koech’s heart is beating so fast, so fast that it is threatening to pop out of its habitat. Not because he is ailing from a dire disorder but the screen in front of him is causing some discomforts.

 It is the last game being played and this will highly determine Koech’s betting fate. Having predicted all the previous five games correctly, he now hopes this last one will take his hopes ‘Home’. In 10 minutes, the game will end yet the scoreboard is still reading 0-0. He briefly buries his face in his hands probably praying for a miracle to happen. He had earlier on failed terribly on another sh200 multi bet he had placed.

From the far middle of the field comes a cross from Chamberlin to Carzola, Carzola ‘feeds’ Ramsey, Ramsey to Ozil, Ozil triples it away from Hazard and aims at the upper side of the post which perfectly lands on Geroud’s magic head and as fate would have its way, Geroud sends it rolling over the net and saves the day for Koech.

 Koech, a student at Moi University has been a great ‘investor’ in sports betting industry since his early 1st year in campus.

“Hey boss, betting mazeh imetunyonya sana but at times pia imetusave mbali especially ka tumekaukiwa. Ni 50-50 either uwachote ama wakuwahi” said Koech amid jokes.

 Bet. It is a simple but famous phrase that has recently taken the country by storm. Inside a mall, office, and lecture hall or even in a matatu, you will never fail to notice a conversation. A conversation of how the week’s jackpot is so capacious, a conversation of how that one game spoiled my chance or even an analysis on how one is going to place and rip big on the day’s probabilities, thanks to the daily protruding of multi billions betting firms in the country.

For many Kenyans sport’s betting has become the new goldmine for instant riches, but betting is a game of chance and if you are lucky the millionaire’s club is open for you. For others when luck runs out you end up losing more than you bargained for.

Across many Kenyan universities, students are busy taking the betting business to the next level.

For as little as sh100 or Sh10 one is able to place a bet of their choice. If the person gets the bet right, they win an amount multiplied by a pr-determined number called the odds. If one loses the game, all the money is gone.

 Betting has become a trend with nearly 80% of the students in our Kenyan universities. This has seen a ‘disease’ called addiction, setting in among these gamers who want to use the shortest route to the world of riches without sweating.

Brian 25 a student at Kenyatta University said everyone in his class of media students is crazy about betting!

“Since Last semester when a colleague won sh70,000, placing bets has been the norm here. In fact ladies are taking up the role in large numbers now days as compared to the early days when men were the only ‘investors’ in the industry” lamented Brian.

Betting has taken our institutions of higher learning by storm, that the students have gone a notch higher of even using school fees and rent money for gambling. This has led to many disappointments among students and their parents at times when the bet goes astray.

In most cases, when a student places a bet and it fails, due to frustrations and fear of victimization from the parents, these students opt to taking out their own lives or dropping out of campus as recently witnessed of one Maseno university student who dropped out of school after losing Ksh40,000 meant for school fees to betting.

The same scenario has been witnessed across Kenyan campuses. Students at Moi University converge at a common place every Friday night for a detailed analysis. Their football expertise is a force to reckon. Unluckily lady-luck has never been on their side to crack the jackpot.

Betting has become a full time job for some comrades. Sitting at distinct places in the campus environment, they are usually seen comparing notes on the possible win, draw or cases of goals issuing from both sides. Comrade’s money is consumed by this online luck-based hustle.

On the contrary, a student who sought anonymity confessed to have lived at the mercy of friends for close to a whole semester after losing Ksh9, 000 in a span of two weeks. He had placed bets of Ksh4000 and Ksh5000 with hopes of recovery but unluckily lost both. An almost similar case saw a lady from Nairobi University Lower Kabete Campus fail to register for her semester’s units in time. She had hoped for a win only to be treated to a shocking loss.

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