A CRIMINOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF GAMBLING ADDICTION AMONG YOUTHS (A CASE STUDY OF YOUTHS IN AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA).
The study was designed to evaluate the implications of gambling addiction among youths in Akwa Ibom State. The study examined how poverty, availability of gambling opportunities and get-rich-quick syndrome predispose youths to gambling addiction. Related literature on the subject were examined and the Social Learning and Differential Association Theories were discussed and adopted as the theoretical guide to the study. Questionnaire was used in sourcing data for the study and it was designed to reflect the research questions of the study. One hundred and eighty five (185) respondents were selected through a multi-stage sampling technique and were given structured copies of questionnaire to fill and return. Simple percentage, descriptive and chi-square statistical tools were utilized in the analysis of data. Findings revealed that poverty, availability of gambling opportunities and get-rich-quick syndrome were the major remote causes of youth addiction to gambling. The researcher recommended that private and government secondary schools should educate their students/pupils on the dangers of gambling addiction. The National Lottery Regulatory Commission through the National Assembly should review the minimum age of gamblers from 18 to 30 years in order to curtail youth addiction to gambling.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Table of content………vii
Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Significance of the Study
Review of Related Literature
Problem of Gambling Addiction among Youths
Process through which youths are exposed to gambling addiction
Gambling addiction and its implications among youths
(a) Social Learning Theory
(b) Differential Association theory
Population of the Study
Method of Data Analysis
Socio-Demographic Characteristics of the Participants
Test of Hypothesis
Discussion of Findings
Background to the Study
Gambling is one of the biggest industries in the world Binde, (2007). It has thrived for many decades. It has played a role in the history of many nations Arnold, (1998). It is one of the revenue generating companies to many countries Skolnick, (2003). Gambling is not new to Nigeria (Vanguard Newspaper, July4th, 2015). It has come a long way in the country. In its prime in Nigeria, it was synonymous with “chacha”, rolling of dice, roulette wheel, whot, pool betting, and few casino centres with slot machines popularly known as kalokalo. It was known to be played by middle-aged and elderly men. Pool betting was perceived as a game for failed men who use their little earnings to try their last chance in life (Reith, 1999).
In recent times, the industry has taken a new dimension due to the adoption and penetration of the internet. With internet, people now have access to gambling companies operating online. This has help to deepened and widened the scope of gambling industry in Nigeria, thereby making many people, most especially the youths to see gambling as a source of wealth, substitute for real life or quick fix for poverty (Vanguard Newspaper, 2014). According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN, 2015) there are as much as six gambling or betting companies within a 10 kilometre radius in the inner city and outskirts of all major streets and state capitals in Nigeria. For instance, in Akwa Ibom State one has since lost count of the brand names of these business outlets. Statistics from the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKSIRS, 2017 see list attached). Shows that gambling or betting companies top the list of new businesses in the state. Moreso, based on investigations by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN, 2016) about 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 years spend up to N1.8 billion on gambling daily.
Gambling is not a profession, it is rooted in greed, laziness and desperation which comes with waves of excitement, anxiety and frustration (Randy, 2012). Studies have shown that many people who take to gambling as a means for survival or income, often developed into harmful addiction (Desai, 2008). Follow up studies have produced similar result and shows that negative consequences always accompany compulsive gamblers which include; drug and alcohol abuse, stealing to gamble, bad debts, entertaining suicidal thoughts, breed laziness, threatening/killing of parents for money, mood disorder to alleviate the feelings of guilt, shame and depression (The Nation newspaper, January 21, 2017).
However, gambling has been variously condemned by both individuals and organizations, Richard III of Ottawa in USA on March 15, 1999 openly condemned gambling, that people spent too much time gambling than their official work. He also submitted that it lead to laziness and is destructive to spiritual, emotional, mental and physical development of people and society (Morgan, 2009). The Catholics have also condemned gambling on the grounds that it often tempts the poor into addiction which brings negative effects such as increase in drugs and alcohol abuse, loan sharking, prostitution, corruption and general public immorality. While the Muslims see gambling as haraam (sinful), and harmful to the spiritual, emotional and mental reasoning of the Muslims and punishment of offenders ranges from 12 lashes, to a one year prison term and a fine for those who provide venues for such practices (Pascal, 2000, as cited by Desai, 2008).
Gambling addiction otherwise called pathological gambling is an impulse control disorder that gives the addict a strong urge to gamble in spite of its negative effects on the gambler and their loved ones. It was officially classified as a psychiatric disorder in 1980, and it is seen in the same category as drug and alcohol addiction. It occurs in three (3) phases:
i. The wining phase: this describes a state that the gambler continues gambling after wining because of the perception of a winning streak.
ii. The losing phase: in this phase, the gambler continues to gamble after losing to earn back money, and;
iii. The desperation phase: is where the gambler takes irrational risks in hope for a big win that will offset previous losses. It is this desperation phase that pushes people, most especially, the youths into gambling addiction and frustration. Example, Mavrodic Mondial Moneybox (MMM) patronizers. Youth represent a time of new independence and an age they act impulsively and take risk.
However, in spite of the efforts by the Akwa Ibom State government, vis-à-vis Nigeria in controlling gambling, the negative effects of this industry is still much on the people and society, and no population feels the impacts much more than the youths. Thus, I want to evaluate gambling addiction among youths in Akwa Ibom State.
Statement of the Problem
It has been observed that youth addiction to gambling has reached an alarming proportion, and has been condemned by many as it has affected a good number of people, with the youths being greater number of victims. The magnitude of youth addiction to gambling has resulted into drugs and alcohol abuse, laziness, stealing to gamble, threatening /killing of parents for money, suicide ideation and many other criminal activities in the state, and this has prompted this research. According to Gupta and Derevensky (1998), it has resulted in delinquency, crime, dysfunctional and disruptive lifestyles. The youths who are supposed to be agents of creativity, models and future leaders are seen to be addicted to gambling. This common phenomenon has befuddled their sense of reasoning with dreaded feelings of depression, anxiety, rage, despair and emptiness.
In Nigeria, the problem of youth gambling is both deep and wide and in Akwa Ibom State, it is getting worst by the day among youths because of the prevalence of technological devices such as television, cell phones and internet. These devices have brought about series of online gambling outlets, registered and unregistered, ranging from Bet365Naija, 360Bet, SureBet247, NairaBet, KingBet, Bet9ja, 1960Bet, MerryBet, AccessBet, BetRepublicana, BetColony, CityBet, Betday, MarsBet365, ConfidenceBet, PlantsoccerBet, LovingBet. Others are the Ritppong, Lotto, R&S Lotto, Golden Chance Lotto, Nigeria Premier Lotto Game, Popularly known as Baba Ijebu, etc. However, many people have assumed that the causes of gambling addiction among youths are poverty availability of gambling opportunities and get-rich-quick syndrome.
Gambling addiction among youths is so common that all remedial measures (that is, Gaming Machine Act of 1977, chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act of 1990, National Lottery Act of 2004 and National Lottery Regulatory Commission of 2005) applied seem to have failed to regulate gambling among youths. This is because such official regulations and measures take for granted standards and value set up as models for good social living and survival in an unpredictable world.
This research is predicated on the need to assess whether or not poverty, availability of gambling opportunities and get-rich-quick syndrome are the causes of gambling addiction among youths.
Therefore, this study is an attempt to contribute to existing knowledge on the problem of youth addiction to gambling especially in Akwa Ibom State.
It is assumes that:
(i) poverty is one of the key factors of gambling addiction among youth;
(ii) availability of gambling opportunities is the cause of youth addiction to gambling;
(iii) get-rich-quick syndrome is one of the major factors of youth addiction to gambling;
(iv) the impacts of youth addiction to gambling affect youths, families and society; and
(v) the best solutions to gambling addiction by the youth could be found if a sociological analysis is undertaken.
(i) There is no relationship between poverty and youth addiction to gambling.
(ii) There is no relationship between availability of gambling opportunities and youth addiction to gambling.
(iii) There is no relationship between get-rich-quick syndrome and youth addiction to gambling.
(iv) There is no relationship between impacts of gambling addition and youths, family and the society.
i. How does poverty influence youth addiction to gambling?
ii. What extent does availability of gambling opportunities affect youth addiction to gambling?
iii. How does get-rich-quick syndrome influence youth to be addicted to gambling?
iv. To what extent does the impacts of gambling addition affect youths, families and the society?
Significance of the Study
The study is significant in the following ways;
The study is undertaken to evaluate the implications of gambling addiction among youths in Akwa Ibom State. It will also update intellectual knowledge in this area. The work will constitute an important guide to policy formulations for the government especially in terms of reducing the problem of gambling addiction amongst youths in Akwa Ibom State. It will also help to develop guidelines to policies that could help meet contemporary challenges on the problem of youth involvement in gambling. It would help educate parents, siblings and friends about the causes of gambling addiction. The study will help expose the risks of gambling addiction among youths in Akwa Ibom State..