Many people around the world have always harbored the thought that they could overcome poverty and become rich through gambling.
However, this hasn’t been the case for Alex Macharia, a third-year Communication Studies student at Chuka University.
Despite spending Ksh 600,000 on gambling, he finds himself still languishing in poverty.
Ensnared by the promise of easy money, Macharia succumbed to the enticement of online betting. His initiation into this world was marked by casual conversations among friends, where they shared tales of wins and losses.
Little did he know that this seemingly harmless pastime would evolve into a financial quagmire, leaving him with cumulative losses approaching Sh600,000.
“It all started with stories from friends who won money through betting. I decided to join because of the excitement of placing bets on sports events and online aviator games became a regular part of our conversations,” Macharia said.
Since joining the online betting community on April 7, 2023, he has spent a staggering Sh589,901.
Astonishingly, his total winnings from these endeavors amounted to a mere Sh7,604 as of November.
The betting craze reached such intensity that Macharia began using funds meant for his education.
He gambled away Sh50,000, originally earmarked for tuition and hostel expenses, as well as Sh8,000 intended for personal shopping. Both sums vanished into the coffers of different betting sites.
In a desperate bid to recover his losses, Macharia resorted to selling personal possessions.
His TV, once a source of entertainment, fetched Sh18,500, and a laptop, a tool for academic pursuits, was sold for Sh15,000.
Reflecting on his journey, Macharia traced the origins of his involvement to anecdotes from friends who boasted about their betting victories.
“This intensified, and so did the stakes. What began as a casual pastime activity soon evolved into what I would term as compulsive behavior. The constant notifications from betting apps became a familiar soundtrack in my daily life, enticing me to place more bets in the hope of hitting the jackpot,” Macharia shared.
His foray into gambling even jeopardized his chances of taking the end-of-semester exams in December 2023.
His financial wellsprings, encompassing contributions from his parents, the closure of a gaming venture, and a watermelon business back home in Athi River, all succumbed to the draining effects of gambling.