This reporter was on her way to a local hotel for coverage and suddenly came across a woman crying and yelling at her son “Muhammed! Muhammed”, and suddenly clasped. According to her, she is a widow with three children to take care of. “Muhammed” she said is her first child and all her future hopes are on him, when he becomes a responsible person.
“I am alone with no one to help me”, she cried, “I am selling at the market to feed my children, pay rent, and take care of their school fees”, she added. She said she goes to the market to sell every day from morning to evening. Muhammed she said goes to school with fifty dalasi every day for his transportation and lunch. She noted that she did not expect her son gambling because he is aware of what his mother is going through.
According to her, she always receives reports from neighbors that her son is involved in gambling but was not certain until today when she decided to follow him to the school.
She said on her way to the school, she saw a group of students in uniform gathered and she decided to stop and ask. She said her son was among them but she was told by the students that Muhammed was not there, adding that she insisted and started to called him but Muhammed did not answer.
“I then decided to call the watchman at the gate to help me chase the students out so that I will see my son”, and suddenly my son appeared. According to her, she was very shock and started to cry. She could be heard from a distance saying “Muhammed is this you” in the Mandinka Language and suddenly fainted.
She was then moved under a mango tree by passers-by who tried to help her recover after which she spoke to this reporter. This reported tried to reach the boy for his side of the story but was nowhere to be seen.
This reporter also visited the gambling centers in Tallinding and Serrekunda to hear their side of the story but to no avail. Upon my arrival at the tallinding “Win Leen” gambling center, I notice that the center was full to its capacity by young people and mainly male. I approached the staff but they decline to comment.
It could be recalled that The Gambia Radio and Television Services once broadcasted a ban order placed on regular and deep-rooted past time playing lotteries, betting and other gambling games in the country by the former president Yahya Jammeh.
In recent, sports betting and gambling centers have painted the country as one often sees students lining at gambling centers during school hours and spending their lunch money on purchasing sports betting tickets.
Opponents of gambling interviewed by this reporter pointed out that Gambians are predominantly Muslims and Christians and both religions strictly forbid engagements in gambling in any form.
According to them, today youths are living in a society where legalized gambling is not only socially acceptable but widely and highly promoted; adding that gambling has become the norm of the day.
They called on the authorities concern to draw the ban back on gambling so as to help save our young people before it is too late and urged the youths to desist from gambling.
Many gamblers who spoke to this reporter are drown to the attention of making fast money and peer influence.
Gambling is finally back in The Gambia as casinos, lotteries and betting centers have resumed operations in full force and are usually crowded with people trying their luck mostly youths and especially students.
Gambling centers such as “Win Len” along the Westfield-Brikama Highway and elsewhere in Serrekunda have all resumed operations in full force and with renewed impelling force.