As is the case in many African countries, online sports betting is growing very rapidly in Malawi.
The improving technology across the continent means that more people now have access to smartphones and internet, and can carry out online activities without any hassles.
Apart from technology, the love for sports, large young population and the relative poverty in the continent also play a vital role in making sports betting a very attractive project in Africa.
The fact that Malawi is relatively liberal with its online betting laws also contributes to the strong emergence of sports betting in the country in the last few years.
Africa is proving to be a very fertile ground for online sports betting sites, and Malawi is very much part of this betting revolution.
The Malawian sports betting market is not as developed as some other nations on the continent, say Kenya, for example, which has numerous betting sites, but it is definitely one of the fastest growing markets.
And in the next few years, the rate of growth will be much higher as young Malawians take to betting for fun, and in the erroneous hope of raising money to foot their bills.
As attractive as online sports betting is, it comes with its own dangers.
Sports betting is largely dependent on luck. Bettors have zero control over what happens in the events they are betting on.
It is true that people have won millions from sports betting, but that is only an infinitesimal percentage of the overall betting public.
Statistics have shown that people generally lose more money than they win from sports betting.
Herein lies the danger.
The desire to earn quick wealth often drives people onto gambling addiction, which can degenerate into financial and health problems.
In a bid to recoup money lost to sports betting, gambling addicts commit even more funds to betting sites, with the belief that they are not too far away from hitting the jackpot.
The unfortunate reality is that this jackpot may never arrive.
Some people go as far as borrowing and stealing money to use for online betting.
Gambling addiction can lead to behavioural and emotional problems. Victims get cut off from friends and relatives, and are often sober and lonely.
The great news is that there are ways of dealing with gambling addiction.
There are websites that specifically cater for gambling addicts, while some betting sites have responsible gambling sections that keep their customers in check.
All bookmakers should be compelled to have these responsible gambling units on their sites.
A specific example of responsible gambling techniques is setting spending limits. On sites that have this feature, you can set a maximum amount of money you intend to spend on betting for a particular period of time.
Once you reach that limit, you will be unable to place bets on the site.
Online sports betting can be fun if done in the right way. The primary reason for sports betting should be to derive excitement and entertainment, and not to obtain quick wealth.
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