A huge social problem has arisen in Kenya. Gambling machines have flooded the streets of Mombasa and Kilifi. The “boxes” are everywhere and police controls are either incomplete or simply do not take place.
In an open, illegal and no control market, the “victims” are usually the vulnerable groups, including children.
According to residents' testimonies, during school holidays and weekends children come to gamble on these boxes in the early hours of morning.
A resident of Mombasa, William Mahindi insists that children have been targeted from the owners of these boxes, and the entire community has turned into a betting “project”.
"The sounds produced by the machines appear to excite or manipulate the young gamblers to think they are about to hit the jackpot, only for them to lose more money to the machines," says Mr Mahindi.
Children gamble even when schools are open
Zainab Kenga, a resident of Bakery in Likoni told: "The police know what is happening but they have decided to look the other way as our children are inducted into this type of gambling. Many children in Kisauni, Mtwapa, Likoni and Changamwe (including my six years old son) are addicted to gambling".
On the other hand, Mombasa County Commissioner Evans Achoki says they are already battling the problem. "We have started cracking down on illegal gambling and police have been directed to sustain the war. Children will not be allowed to participate in gambling of any style or name. Anyone with evidence that police are taking bribes from the owners of these gadgets should come forward and share information with us".