Determinents of Demand for Gambling Businesses

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Most studies from the region concurred that young males face a higher risk for gambling disorder (Sharp, Dellis, Hofmeyr, Kincaid & Ross, 2015), however, young females’ increasing involvement especially in “closet” forms of gambling, including mobile internet-based lotteries and games (Ahaibwe, Lakuma, Katunze & Mawejje, 2016) such as “Fahfee” - which is widely played by black South African women living in townships; has been documented (Louw, 2017).

Similarly, gambling has become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years, who accounted for the highest proportion of Nigerians who engage in the practice. According to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), about 60 million Nigerians between the ages 18 and 40 years spend up to N1.8 billion Naira on sports betting daily with an average investment of N3,000 Naira per day. According to the survey report released by NOIPolls (2017) as reported by Week (2017), a significant proportion of Nigerians polled (77 percent) attested to the high prevalence of betting and gambling in their locality; particularly amongst respondents in the South-West (92 percent) and South-South (91 percent) geo-political zones which recorded the highest prevalence. Also, the top four betting platforms identified by Nigerians are; Bet9ja (64 percent), Nairabet (34 percent), Pool (22 percent) and Lotto (20 percent). Furthermore, in terms of active participation, 36 percent of those polled admitted that they personally engage or have family members who engage in gambling; with more than half of this group of respondents (53 percent) engaged in daily betting. On the other hand, 60 percent of this same group reported that they win a bet ‘few times a month’, while 8 percent revealed that they have ‘never won a bet’.

Gambling addiction listing goes on to show how the developed world (West) takes addiction to gamble seriously. This is a far cry from the casual way it is treated in Nigeria. In DSM-5 published in 2013, it got renamed to “Gambling Disorder” with new defining criteria. This change reflects the increasing evidence that for some people gambling becomes an addiction. The effect they get from it is similar to the effect someone suffering from alcoholism gets from alcohol. Research has shown that gambling activates the brain reward system with effects similar to those of substance addiction.

DSM-5 added a “craving or a strong desire or urge to use a substance” as one of the criteria for diagnosing substance use disorder, where the “substance”, in this case, is the “act of gambling”. At the same time, they made it clear that one does not have to “commit illegal acts to finance gambling” before the person is diagnosed of a gambling disorder. Some gamblers are seeking excitement or action in gambling, others are looking more for escape or numbing. Both of which represent scenarios in which a gambling disorder might be present. Juxtaposing the list of nine scenarios with responses from the study’s participants indicated that many Nigerians show signs of a gambling disorder, albeit mild (Dada, 2018).

Causes and Effects of Problem Gambling

In reality, gambling has its positive and negative sides however, given Nigeria’s recession and high unemployment figures, the impact of the betting industry in the nation’s economy has been positive as it has created thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. Big betting companies have staff strength running into hundreds; and through their associate and affiliate networks, they offer agents a source of livelihood from commissions earned as people engage in betting (Week, 2017). A study (Week, 2017) has revealed in its findings that 26 percent mentioned ‘timely payment’ as the main factor that influences their choice. This was closely followed by respondents who believe it is the ‘odds/stake placed on a game’ (24 percent). Other determinants mentioned include ‘reputation for payment’ (21 percent), ‘ease of use’ (15 percent) among others. Finally, analysis of results revealed ‘quest for quick money’ (30 percent), ‘Unemployment’ (21 percent) and ‘greed’ (15 percent) topped the list of reasons why Nigerians engage in betting. Other reasons include; ‘to cushion the effect of economic hardship’ (12 percent), ‘poverty’ (10 percent), ‘just for fun’ (5 percent), ‘passion for sports’ (5 percent) and ‘peer group influence’ (2 Percent) (Week, 2017).

Lotto gambling, popularly known as “BABA IJEBU” in south western Nigeria among others, the telecommunication service provider companies such as MTN, GLOBACOM, AIRTEL, ETISALAT etcetera also promote gambling by introducing recharge certain amount and get a visa to travel to England to watch the English premiership matches (LIVE) and also introducing, who wants to be a millionaire, the Nigerian Bottling Companies and Breweries are not left out in their so-called marketing techniques or promotions. In spite of attempts to protect minors from harm by prohibiting them from engaging in most forms of gambling, there are few restrictions on the marketing of gambling products (Monaghan, 2008). Evidence of high rates of gambling and associated problem amongst the adults and youths indicates that the issue of gambling must be addressed to minimize harm (Dervensky & Gupta, 2004).

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A survey of Canadians adults found that while the majority of respondents were aware of the negative consequences of gambling and believe that the problems associated with gambling have increased, the majority still indicated that gambling was an acceptable activity (Azmier, 2001). The acceptance of gambling as a harmless form of entertainment vastly underestimates the risks involved. A survey of 8th graders in Delaware found that youth who gamble were 50% more likely to drink alcohol, more than twice as likely to binge drink, more than three times as likely to use marijuana and other illegal drugs, and almost three times as likely to get into trouble with the police, be involved in gang fights and steal or shoplift (Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, 2001).

Gambling in any form increases the likelihood of participation in other forms of gambling. What starts off as an occasional, fun activity may potentially escalate into a serious problem. Research repeatedly demonstrates that individuals who begin gambling earlier in life are at higher-risks of developing gambling-related problems (Griffiths, 1995; Gupta & Derevensky, 1998). Experts (such as Jacob, 2000; Meyer, Hayer & Griffiths, 2009) have established that problem gambling is associated with adverse psychological, physical, economic, social, and legal outcomes. Problematic gambling among adolescents is associated with increased behavioural problems including delinquency and crime, disruption of relationships, impaired academic performance and work activities as well as poor psychological outcomes, including low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal ideations and attempts (Derevensky, 2008; Derevensky & Gupta, 2002; Gupta & Derevensky, 2008).

Its effect devastates both to doer, the family and the society at large. When the money stops coming the way of gambler, he may engage in drugs in frustration. In trying to escape poverty and play roles in the financial upkeep of their families, many youths have chosen to indulge in gambling to put food on their family’s table. Alas, the most active participants in this trade are adolescents and youths whose main objective, rather than being on how to lay good foundations to better their tomorrow, is on the desire to get rich at all cost and crush any obstacle that might stand against their desire (Okorodudu, 2014).

Problem gambling has negative effects associated with excessive play; such as, poor academic performance, moodiness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed interpersonal conflict (Griffiths & Wood, 2004). According Philip (2014), gambling makes an individual wager his/her money or other valuable items on an uncertain event. It is dependent, partly or wholly, on chance. In the long run, the bet causes harm to the gambler after he loses his chance. Gambling is a game of chance in which the probability of winning is an independent event. That is, just as there are only two sides to a coin, there are also only two sides in gambling. It is either one wins or loses. There is no such thing as sitting on the fence in a bet.

According to Blinn-Pike, Worthy and Jonkman (2007) financial behaviours were associated with sensation seeking and risk-taking activities like gambling. Youths often use resources such as credit cards, debit cards, or borrowed money to gamble; this is common for adult gamblers as well, but these habits may have greater negative financial consequences in a younger population. Problem gambling can destroys one’s relationship with family, friends, and colleagues. Due to obsession with the game a person is isolated from the family members which can cause serious family crisis. Certainly, no mother will proudly introduce his son as a football betting maniac. Religions prohibit any game which involves betting, that is, which has an element of gambling in it. It is not lawful for the adherents of Islamic and Christian religions to seek relaxation and recreation in gambling, nor is it lawful for them to acquire money through it.

Systematic Review of Previous Empirical Studies

Some of the empirical studies related to the topic of this study are discussed as follows: The research effort by Erickson, Molina, Ladd, Pietrzak and Petry (2005), explored the association of problem and pathological gambling with poorer mental and physical health in older adults. Adults (n = 343) aged 60 years and older attending senior centers, bingo sites and other community activities completed a screening form containing the South Oaks Gambling Screen and the Short Form‐12 Health Survey, to evaluate physical and mental health. Overall, 6.4% of the respondents were classified as problem gamblers and an additional 3.8% as pathological gamblers. Problem and pathological gamblers evidenced significantly greater physical and mental health problems than non‐problem gamblers. These data suggest that about 10 percent of active older adults experience gambling problems, which are associated with poor physical and mental health.

In another research, Enwereuzor, Ugwu and Ugwu (2006) worked on the role of smartphone addiction in gambling passion and schoolwork engagement: A Dualistic Model of Passion approach. Drawing from the model, the study therefore, examined the mediatory role of smartphone addiction in the gambling passion; schoolwork engagement relation. A cross-sectional design was adopted. Male undergraduates (N = 278) of a large public university in Nigeria who engage in Internet gambling participated in the study. They completed self-report measures of gambling passion, smartphone addiction, and schoolwork engagement. The study findings indicated that harmonious gambling passion was not related to smartphone addiction whereas it was positively related to schoolwork engagement. Obsessive gambling passion had positive and negative relations with smartphone addiction and schoolwork engagement, respectively. Smartphone addiction was negatively related to schoolwork engagement and mediated only the obsessive gambling passion; schoolwork engagement relation but not that between harmonious gambling passion and schoolwork engagement.

Onyedire, Chukwuorji, Orjiakor, Onu, Aneke and Ifeagwazi (2009) studied the associations of Dark Triad traits and problem gambling: Moderating role of age among university students. The study examined the associations of Dark Triad personality factors (namely, Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) with problem gambling, and whether age moderates nature of these associations. Participants were 252 Nigerian undergraduate students who were identified as sports gamblers. They completed the 27-item Short Dark Triad and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). Results showed that psychopathy and student’s age positively predicted problem gambling, while narcissism was a negative predictor of problem gambling. Machiavellianism did not significantly predict problem gambling. It was also found that at older age, the associations of narcissism and psychopathy with problem gambling was stronger than at mean age, but non-existent at younger age. Age did not moderate of the relationship between Machiavellianism and problem gambling.

Nwigwe, Yusuf and Okoruwa (2010) worked on the determinants of demand for gambling/office football pool betting in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. The study evaluated the statistical significance of a number of socioeconomic and demographic variables on the demand for office football pool betting in Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria. The Ordinary Least Square (OLS) econometric model was employed.

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