NO to access for children to gambling

children and gambling

Children and gambling stall : we should all say ‘No’ (Photo: UNICEF DRC Mounet)

A few years ago, gambling activity appeared in the city of Bunia. Small gambling stalls quickly multiplied across the city, drawing large crowds, and even attracting children!

Walking through the streets of Bunia, we noticed something which shocked us: games stalls were being frequented by children, even though gambling is something normally reserved for adults.

How does a child who has no money or job come to participate in these games? Maybe he stole money from his parents to come and play! Even worse: these children are no longer interested in school and prefer to waste their time and money on these gambling stalls.

For a starting sum of 500 Congolese Francs, children place bets alongside adults on the results of football matches, for example. When their bets are wrong, the money is automatically lost. For those who win and come away with a significant amount, the money is quickly spent on alcohol, drugs or other substances.

A plea from the young people of Bunia

We, the Young Reporters, in collaboration with our friends from the Children’s Parliament, have found it necessary to make an appeal to the Mayor of the city of Bunia asking him to implement restrictive measures. Those running these stalls cannot continue to accept children!

Ferdinand Fimbo, the mayor of Bunia, assured us that they are already taking “steps to confront this problem.” The mayor highlighted that “gambling is only permitted for adults and not for those under 18 years of age.” “Shortly, we will meet with all stall-holders to remind them of the decision which we have all made together, but which is not being respected”, stressed Ferdinand Fimbo. “We will do our best as quickly as possible to get children away from these games, which are reserved for adults.” The mayor concluded, adding that gambling stalls which continue to accept children will be punished with the full force of the law.

Two days after our appeal to the Mayor, we noticed a clear change in the city: no more children around gambling stalls. Children’s participation in gambling activity is a real obstacle to their education, schooling and therefore their future. We should all say No to access for children to gambling stalls!

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