Gambling must also be fought on socio-cultural fronts

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THE spread of gambling, mostly online under the guise of online gambling, from urban to rural areas, as New Age reported on Friday, is cause for concern as many young people are becoming addicted to gambling. The issue deserves early intervention. legal, political and social. What remains even more worrying is the presence of gambling rackets, mostly international, which operate through local agents and siphon huge sums of money. While online gambling remains a mode of play, in some cases gambling takes the form of betting on international sporting events, as law enforcement says. Such a situation would also make certain young people the prey of various rackets. Casinos and gambling in sports clubs were said to have operated until September 2019, when law enforcement began to crack down on these club activities, mainly in Dhaka and other major cities. The crackdown ended months after influential politicians, entrepreneurs and businessmen collided with the net. As some law enforcement officials say, gambling is now played online, where people play the game and pay money through the mobile money transfer system.

Law enforcement has carried out more than 50 raids across the country and arrested 275 people for their alleged involvement in casino affairs and other corrupt practices. The bursting of some local and international gaming rackets and the detection of a huge sum of money having been siphoned off show that online gambling, mainly in the form of online games and betting on international sporting events, has wide prevalence and far-reaching implications. . It is therefore up to the police to deal with the issue. But the government should also address the sluggishness of investigations against some of the casino hubs that were arrested in 2019, as such a delay can only add to the culture of impunity, which other hubs believe they are profiting from. While political will is needed to eradicate gambling and, in particular, prevent young people from becoming addicted to gambling, this may not solve the problem. The government has reportedly blocked more than 20,000 gambling and immoral content websites, but closing the lanes alone cannot stop gambling in a deterrent way. The government should also address the problem by working to create the possibility for young people to get involved in sporting and cultural activities, which seem to have declined, or almost disappeared, since the mid-1990s. Sports and cultural clubs neighborhood and reading and lending libraries, catering to the interests of the youth, which were once vibrant in villages, small towns and cities are long dead.

While the government must develop a strategy to end gambling addiction by fighting against those controlling gambling by law enforcement and revitalizing sports and cultural clubs and libraries to provide young people with the space to they need in order to develop, the government must also ensure that young people can find employment after graduation and that the economic benefits reach them adequately and sustainably.


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