Kids gambling are breadwinners?

Yesterday, I wrote up a story about a wealthy Singapore family who sent their teenage son to a casino management seminar to learn about the business of gambling. Today, we’ve got something from the other end of the socio-economic spectrum: South African school children who gamble so that their families can eat.

From The Mercury

Children are gambling at schools in KwaZulu-Natal to raise money to support their families and principals are allegedly trying to keep the problem under wraps to prevent their pupil numbers dropping.

A recent survey done in schools for the National Gambling Board found that out of 4 000 pupils in grades 10 to 12 at 28 schools, almost 46 percent admitted to having gambled in and out of school.

The study found that 27 percent of these were Indian, 20 percent white, 18 percent coloured and 8,5 percent African. The pupils had spent R200 or more on gambling but it could not be established on Wednesday in what period the money had been gambled.

The Internet, national lottery, sports bets, scratch cards, dice and cards were some of the forms of gambling pupils used.

Sayed Rajack, chairperson of the Parents Association in KwaZulu-Natal, said gambling was the best-kept secret in the province’s schools, along with drugs and ill discipline, because principals feared that if parents knew the extent of these problems, they would take their children to other schools resulting in teachers losing their jobs.

Some pupils, said Rajack, were gambling to get money to buy lunch and to feed their families. He said when children were caught gambling and taken to the school’s disciplinary committee, parents testified that the money their children gained through gambling was a source of regular income for the family.

“Parents come up and say they (pupils) bring money home on a regular basis. They know the children are gambling and the money helps in the house. They condone it,” said Rajack.

He said pupils gambled whenever they had the opportunity and teacher absenteeism, which resulted in pupils not being supervised, fuelled the behaviour.

Kids gambling at schools to support their kin

Further down in the article, one principal claimed that the gambling was only minor, because kids just did it to get money for lunch and bus fare. Food and transportation seem like major things to me, but what do I know?

The article says that the kids take advantage of teacher absenteeism. I can just see a substitute walking into a classroom…”Are you sure your teacher usually lets you play Texas Hold’Em?”

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