Sportpesa is arguably Kenyans’ new darling when it comes to pastime activities; watching sports has never been the same again ever since the advent of the sports betting platform. Today even the womenfolk who have all along been naturally confined to soap operas on television are now perpetually scrolling down match schedules in Turkey, Finland, Bosnia, Serbia & Montenegro etc. as they analyze the teams on which to put their money on. Never mind if they even know a single player in those leagues; that is none of their business and neither should it be yours.

That is just how low we have sunk as a society and a nation at large in terms of investment options and skill mindsets.

The growing popularity and success of sports betting platforms in Kenya, which has been heavily leveraged on the success of mobile money technology (M-Pesa) goes a long way in showing how as a country we love Get-Rich-Quick schemes; the insatiable belief that it’s possible to reap the elusive Jackpot by persistently sowing all we have until we finally make it. The same analogy explains our mental vulnerabilities that cause addictions to local socially destructive inventions of similar defeatist metrics like tenderpreneurship (we actually invented that word through greed), tribal politics, pyramid schemes etc.

Although history has taught us time and again that these Get-Rich-Quick strategies are mere fads that don’t work, they are still an appealing game of chance to many.

The gambling industry like sports betting, casinos or any other in the category is always designed in a biased way to enrich the master (The House), not the player. No matter how much you ‘win,’ eventually the master will always get his share. As a player you are made to be so sure of yourself about the outcome, an event that you have absolutely no control over. Essentially the bet is based on a presumption that odds are in your favour as a player. Which is always the fad upon which all lottery competitions are based. If you check carefully, an event where the odds are hugely in your favour as a player doesn’t have much returns.

The unwritten truth about sports betting or any other form of gambling, unfortunately, is that the more you win, the more you want to raise your stakes so that you can win more. Sport betting is not a business; you can’t call yourself an investor if you have the naivety to entrust your capital investments in a game of chance and whose process or outcome you have absolutely no control over. You can as well take that money to a casino; all you have to do is remember to carry your lucky charm and pray that the stars and angels will align the odds in your favour.

Whatever happened to real men sitting down and planning a 5yr, 10yr or 20yr growth and development strategy then grinding it out till they achieve their goals? How will we even explain to our kids our success strategies in future so that they can emulate the same with pride? It’s pretty saddening to see that the majority of energetic young men who are supposed to be putting their financial energy in investment assets like real estate, stock markets, treasury bills, bonds, money markets, mutual funds etc. are busy staring at computer screens, surrendering all their savings in a game of chance that may swing either way and with it all their capital investments.

Essentially betting is supposed to be a pastime activity and purely for entertainment, but we lose the whole plot when we take it as an investment vehicle or God forbid, a job. 

As loving citizens of this nation we need to man up and show some steel in our hustle. This nation depends on our masculinity and tenacity as citizens in the pursuit of growth and development milestones, which cannot be achieved by trusting everything to a game of chance. We need to build economically strong monuments in our midst so that we will be able to proudly look back and tell our succeeding generations; “We built that.”

If an average Kenyan young man or woman keeps throwing the better portion of their savings into sports betting platforms as a prime source of investment, we can safely conclude that we are on a sure road to self-destruction as a country. Referring to people who bet a lot as ‘investors’ is like calling a person who normally has several one-night stands a ‘romantic.’ Warren Buffet, renowned investor and the world’s richest value investor, made a very simple logic of the whole gambling industry and its relation to money and investment. He made two very simple rules;

Rule No. 1: Don’t Lose Money

Rule No. 2: Never Forget Rule No. 1

For the millionaires we currently have courtesy of sports betting, I am so happy for you. That is why I think you need Mark Cuban’s advice;

“If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness.

If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.

Tell all your friends and relatives no. They will ask. Tell them no. If you are close to them, you already know who needs help and what they need. Feel free to help SOME, but talk to your accountant before you do anything and remember this, no one needs 1 million for anything. No one needs 100,000 for anything. Anyone who asks is not your friend.

You don’t become a smart investor when you win the jackpot. Don’t make investments. You can put it in the bank and live comfortably. Forever. You will sleep a lot better knowing you won’t lose money.

Be nice. No one likes a mean millionaire.”

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