New Era (Windhoek)

29 August 2012

Namibia: When Gambling Goes Local and Public, Namibian Youths Get Affected

opinion

When the general public talks about gambling, most of the time, our minds instantaneously think of Roulette, Black Jack, slot machines, lottery tickets and all these other games that take place in a casino or in shebeens.

For starters, gambling involves taking risks like losing money or belongings. Usually, a win or loss is determined by luck and the more games one wins, the more money one is likely to get. A few years ago, gambling was considered unethical, illegal and a game for people with tarnished images and reputations. However, today it's legal in many countries and also in Namibia, where it's no longer looked at as a game for shady deals or people.

The majority of Namibians, especially the elderly, thinks that gambling is only for the wealthy and for those who frequent lavish hotels and casinos in Windhoek, but it actually started in the villages. The board game commonly known playing cards, sports betting, draft, ludo and pool are some of the games locally connected to gambling. There are the modernized in casinos especially in Windhoek, Swakopmund, Oshakati and Walvis Bay. Most people, today, make and lose money through playing these games.

In general street survey conducted by Youth Corner here, there are most definitely mixed reactions about the issue of gambling for the local people.

Kally Paulus, 18, a resident of Federation location in Eenhana, observes that gambling is one way of getting money easily without any sweat.

"Gambling is clean since it doesn't involve fighting. Some people are just lucky like me at winning these games so it would be good if they made money from that "talent", he says.

Paulus says that at the end of the day everyone works to get money, so if they can play a game and make money out of it, then why not. He won a thousand dollars at Super Cool Trading in the presence of Youth Corner Correspondent last week.

"Some people are not educated and some are school drop-outs, but they are good at these games and there is no harm in playing cards for money it if it puts food on the table," he adds.

However, Claudia Hailaula, a clothing vendor, thinks that gambling is outrageous.

Claudia Hailaula confesses that her husband also gambles through the Jackpot machines which he is apparently addicted to.

"Gambling is very addictive and causes impoverishment. People end up borrowing money so they can play and most times end up losing even what they borrowed - including their salaries. It even results in violence in case one fails to pay up," Hailaula says.

She maintains that people who gamble are not respected in society and that gambling creates a bad image of someone.

According to her, sports betting, playing cards, ludo and the board game, slot machine, Jackpots are games used commonly used for gambling and she stressed that it's a habit most men possess. She says that isn't good at all.

While others wake up to do constructive work or selling something in the streets for a living, there are people who routinely wake up to play cards or frequenting shebeens in their locations just for gambling to get some cash from it.

Gambling is no longer just for the learned and wealthy people in society who can afford to go to the casino, nowadays it is prevalent in the villages too.

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