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Betting on hope: Youth in the slums speak up on the impact of gambling

By Tebby Otieno December 23rd, 2023 2 min read

In the heart of the bustling slums, where dreams often find solace in the smallest sparks of opportunity, a cultural revolution is underway. The Peace Africa Cultural Group has unveiled a powerful cinematic creation, “My Best Shot-JP,” igniting a discourse on responsible gambling that resonates with the youth.

This film is not just a visual masterpiece but a beacon of awareness, shedding light on the often-overlooked consequences of problem gambling within the vibrant tapestry of slum life.

The feature film was created by Flavian Mbusi and produced by Flave Media Group.

The producers, passionate about their cause, stress that while gambling is a personal choice, the perilous path of compulsive gambling takes a toll far beyond the game.

“My Best Shot-JP” beckons the audience to confront the harsh reality that, when approached responsibly, gambling can be a form of entertainment. However, veering into the realm of compulsion jeopardises mental, emotional, social, and financial well-being.

Members residing in the very heart of the slums, where the struggle is as real as the dreams, share their lived experiences. They speak of the pervasive impact, urging their community to take a step back and reflect on the implications of unchecked gambling.

“At first I convinced myself that I would control my betting frequencies but there are times the momentum carried me away. There is a day I placed 3, 000 shillings on betting and I lost all of it to an extent that I did not even have transport to take me back to the house,” says Elizabeth Achieng, a Korogocho resident who is also a member of Peace Africa Cultural Group.

George Alloys, a sports enthusiast and film producer, stated that gambling is a problem among youths that has harmed the sport.

According to him, when players decide to coerce into gambling to win money and become wealthy quickly, they tamper with the outcome of any sport.

“Gambling is affecting youth and everyone involved. People are losing money because they are staking to get rich but we all agree that gambling is good when you are actually winning but it becomes a mental problem and problematic when you are losing and you are losing a lot of money,” says Alloys.

Cultural ambassador from Cultural Heritage Kenya, Nickson Obi, says that because of gambling, most youths have become very lazy and don’t look for jobs.

He says that youths in Kogocho are participating in manual gambling, which has led to increased crimes in the area due to a lack of responsibility by the youths and fewer restrictions from the government.

“The government should limit the licenced gambling companies because when they are many, it becomes more addictive. Right now, even children whose lines are registered using their parents’ identification card numbers access the online gambling sites,” says Obi.