Online betting among Tanzanian teenagers gaining popularity
Tanzanian gamblers are getting younger and increasingly using betting shops and Internet to try their luck in hopes of striking it big.Besides gambling in online casinos, there are also bookies as young as 13, who take bets in school on football matches.Gambling expert working in the country revealed to me that young punters were a worrying trend, with some already becoming habitual gamblers at 15.“Youths in United Republic of Tanzania usually gamble over the Internet because it is not regulated. They will obviously get stopped at casinos because of their age. So they turn to online casinos instead,” expert said.In some cases he’s familiar with, several youths deceived their parents into believing they were conducting research over the Internet when they were actually gambling online.“Parents will easily believe them because the Internet is such a huge part of the lifestyle of youths today,” he added. Young Tanzanians are able to gamble in online casinos because they could borrow credit from online brokers, who offered their services on the websites.
“If the teenage gambler loses the credit, the broker would then pay the online casino first with a credit card. The teenager has to repay the broker in cash,” he said, adding that besides betting on games like roulette and poker, young gamblers were also fond of sports betting, especially English Premier League football.“The youngest habitual gamblers I know are two 14-year-olds from Manzese and Buguruni. Habitual gamblers from Mikocheni and Masaki lead the pack and are actually addicted to gambling but they are not aware of it,” he said.While the problem of teenage gambling was widespread across Dar Es Salaam, another alarming trend was school children borrowing money from loan sharks to pay their gambling debts.Some gamblers know the teenagers’ parents are rich especially those from affluent areas like Upanga, Masaki, Sea Cliff, Mikocheni, Mlimani,Oyster Bay among others enough to pay off the debts so they have no qualms about encouraging them to take loansMost young people have resorted to gambling because many of them want a quick way to get money to buy better handphones, computers and branded goods. For example today the expert expects a surge in calls to his company hotline at the end of Manchester United Versus Liverpool match taking place this afternoon at Old Trafford in north west England, mostly from gamblers who would have lost their bets.
Manchester United received a huge boost ahead of the game after Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea agreed to a new four year deal just over a week after the collapse of his protracted move to Spanish football giants Real Madrid. When Chelsea played Arsenal in the Community Shield cup which the latter won, he received twelve cases of gambling problems involving those aged between 16 and 18, amounting to Tshs 8,900,000 (approximately $4,000).He considered it an increase because last year he received fewer than 5 cases when Manchester City played Arsenal in the community shield cup. I’ve already got thirty and it is only September,” he said.He believed the cases highlighted were only the tip of the iceberg, adding that the youths he met were already in serious trouble and needed to seek his help.“There are many out there who choose not to seek help,” he said. About 80% of gambling cases involve the middle class family teenagers, with the other classes making up the remaining 20%, he added.Gamblers are getting younger and increasingly using the Internet to try their luck in hopes of striking it big. Besides gambling in online casinos, there are also bookies as young as 12, who take bets in school on football matches.Young punters in Tanzania were a worrying trend, with some already becoming habitual gamblers at 14.’Youths usually gamble over the Internet because it is not regulated. They will obviously get stopped at casinos because of their age. So they turn to online casinos instead,’ he concluded.