Young people and gambling in Sub-Saharan Africa: towards a critical research agenda

by Franklin Glozah, Christopher Bunn, Junious M. Sichali, Joana Salifu Yendork, Otiyela Mtema, Michael Udedi, Gerda Reith and Darragh McGee

02 Nov 2023
Journal of the British Academy
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Abstract: Recent decades have seen gambling become a highly lucrative industry across sub-Saharan Africa. Fuelled by the democratisation of access to digital finance and internet technologies, this gambling boom has been concentrated in Africa’s urban economies, where expanding youth populations are increasingly connected to global circuits of sport, popular culture and speculative forms of consumption. This has engendered growing interest in gambling as a distinct and emerging field of academic enquiry across sub-Saharan Africa. To date, psychiatric, epidemiological and behavioural sciences have provided the dominant frame for measuring the extent of ‘problem gambling’ and addiction, but there remains the need to expand and diversify the field to encompass more critical and interdisciplinary approaches that recognise gambling as a densely significant social and cultural phenomenon. This article aims to provide a point of departure for a critical research agenda on the differentiated impacts of gambling on young people and their communities across the continent.

Keywords: gambling, young people, sub-Saharan Africa, future research

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 11, supplementary issue 3 (Being and Becoming: Uncertain Youth Futures)

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