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Student commits suicide after losing Sh80k bet on Italy match

A university student has committed suicide in Migori County after losing Sh80,000 in a football bet.

The Kenyatta University student was found hanging behind his mother’s house in Ondome village, Uriri Sub-County, on Wednesday.

He left behind a note indicating that the money he was given to pay college fees had disappeared in betting and he saw no need of living.

The student had placed the money on the high-stakes Germany-Italy Euro 2016 match. He put Sh40,000 on a Germany win and a similar amount on an Italy victory but the match ended in a draw.

“He watched the game in Nairobi but, after losing, decided to come back home, where he took his life,” said the Migori County police boss, Mr David Kirui.

In football betting, an extra-time result does not count, so although Germany routed Italy in the subsequent penalty shootout, his ‘win’ bet in favour of the teams did not matter.


An Awendo Rapcom Hospital administrator said the student was brought in dead.

“We could not resuscitate him because it was too late,” said Mr Joseph Otieno.

A spot check by the Nation has revealed that several young men and women have become addicted to sports betting, which is most of the times driven by a bid to make quick cash. They try their luck in the mushrooming betting platforms that have sprung up in Kenya.

And although some have had their living standards improve after winning good money in their bets, others are still struggling, awaiting their luck.

Secondary school and college students have been hooked to the betting craze with their parents getting worried since some no longer concentrate on their studies. Many boda boda riders and taxi drivers have abandoned their trade to engage in full-time betting.

“I quit my job when I realised I could make up to Sh5,000 daily from betting,” says Mr Barnabas Okello, a taxi driver for the past seven years. “I am doing fine.”


Bar owners have been reporting good business arising from many revellers who flock their joints to follow the matches on the big television screens mounted in their premises.

“Most of the customers are people who have placed bets and they empty our stocks as they assess whether they are losing or winning,” said Mr Fred Waswa, a bar owner.

Cyber café owners have also not been left behind as people who do not have Android phones jam their shops throughout the day, betting online.

“The business has improved a lot… I make over Sh4,000 per day, up from the previous Sh1,500. Soccer betting has become a big craze in town,” notes Ms Yunita Atieno, a cyber café operator in Migori Town.

Migori County police boss Mr Kirui however says petty crime has due to the latest “trade” in town.

“Betting has helped us a lot because young men and women are now spending their energy and time on the betting sites most of the times. Our cases of burglary have dropped drastically,” he said.

Some of the leading betting firms include Sportpesa, Betway, Betin and Mcheza with their capital base estimated to be running into billions of shillings.