By Ameenu Shardow, follow on Twitter @alooameenu
How as a country we managed to sell our soul in the name of raising ‘bad money’ revenue by promoting gambling beats my imagination.
At first, it used to be a gathering of people behind television sets watching an interesting movie or soap opera or something of the sort.
Nowadays, men, women and children alike gather at vantage points to keep track of how their investment goes in betting on several sporting events – especially football.
The betting companies are everywhere and very prevalent in the ‘ghetto’ areas – and we say our country is developing?
I sat disgustingly throughout a pre-Christmas dinner party thrown by one of the betting companies over the weekend where people in positions of responsibility shamelessly threw their weights behind gambling.
At that event, the said betting company touted it has employed 450 Ghanaians in its relatively short span of existence in the country. That it has made Ghanaians rich and intend to make even more Ghanaians richer by their ‘superior’ betting services – whatever that means, I don’t know.
What they however failed to tell us is how much they are ripping Ghanaians off by the day, how much money per game day they make as against the peanuts they pay out as prizes and the like.
They also failed to tell us how many hardened criminals they are creating for society as the day goes by and how much of the colossal monies they make is channelled towards correcting these negative externalities.
It is for no reason that our norms, values and believes as Ghanaians and by extension Africans frown on gambling.
In fact, most religious faiths frown on such acts but here we are glorifying it.
Worst of it, they are using the passion of the nation (football) to fuel their despicable acts – a foil to the real aim of lining their pockets.
Most of the people behind this modern way of gambling are foreigners who we have invited into our homes to literally disrespect us.
Are they solely to blame? No!
Especially for full grown adults who ought to know what is right and wrong and more importantly feel free to do whatever they so wish with their money.
But we have legalised it. And the excuse they give is ‘oh, they (betting companies) are being taxed heavily and resources used to develop the country.’
Another excuse: ‘it happens anyway so why don’t we take it from the dark, legalise it so it can be well regulated and controlled’
My response is very simple: ‘why don’t we do same for prostitution because the reality on the ground is that it also happens. So why don’t we bring it from the dark, legalise, regulate and control it.
‘We can also tax them heavily and use the revenue generated to develop our country.”
You see how ridiculous it sounds?
What are we doing to our nation?
Everything our forefathers fought and stood for is gradually being sold for peanuts with devastating long term effect.
What kind of future leaders are we expected to raise with this ‘insane’ way of entertainment.
The stories you hear from people who are so deep into this betting thing but never win leaves long lasting chills on you.
What these people are ready to do to keep financing their stakes; we probably need to get license short guns in our homes.
And then the people we have trusted the governance of this nation, people we put so much trust and faith in to stand against such things happening are rather the ones disappointingly pushing us into the ditch. Pathetic.
I was however happy not to spot any Ghana FA official at that ceremony even though I am sure they were invited. But they cannot entirely escape blame because we know they once endorsed such a move in a not too distant past.
If we really have leaders in this country, I dare say it is time they stand up and be counted otherwise we wait for the day where all civil vices will be legalised in the name of raising revenue.