British betting companies and football clubs are “luring” hundreds of thousands of African children into an illegal gambling craze that Kenya’s government says is “destroying” their lives.
Using techniques banned in the UK, the companies appeal to youngsters by using cartoon characters and free branded merchandise. At a British company’s betting shops in the Nairobi slums, The Sunday Times witnessed children as young as 14 gambling freely, in breach of Kenyan law.
Tracey Crouch, who resigned as sports minister in protest at the government’s lack of action over gambling, said she was “deeply concerned” at the revelations, adding: “It is reminiscent of the way that tobacco companies are seeking new markets among young people in Africa.”
Top English football clubs, which have millions of fans in Africa, are closely involved in the promotional efforts. Arsenal sent its former star, Sol Campbell, to Nairobi for children’s coaching sessions with SportPesa, a Kenyan betting company that is its African sponsor. Hull City players went to a Nairobi shanty town, where they handed out SportPesa-branded wristbands and football strips to schoolchildren.
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How British betting companies – and Premiership football clubs – get African children gamblinghttps://t.co/c6Wo3hXFjw
— Andrew Gilligan (@mragilligan) July 14, 2019