When I was growing up, my father did his best to encourage us to take education seriously and warned us about the vices of life through many proverbs, popular sayings and real-life examples. He was always full of examples of great men of the past who excelled in education and life to inspire us to become great too. There was no single day that I would visit my father (even now) and he would not bombard me and my siblings with proverbs and what we need to do to live well.

For secondary school education, one of the popular sayings, which he always repeated anytime we came back home for school vacation or going back to school was: “Women and wine, game and deceit make the wealth small, and the wants great”. This quote was attributed to Benjamin Franklin with my father’s emphasis on women, wine and game. Today, I want to talk about the last one in the emphasis of his treble: game. By treble, I won’t be talking about how Manchester United is the only club in Great Britain to have achieved treble in British football. 🙊🙊🙊

My father gave us many examples of men and women who kept staking lotto with their earnings and ended up being poor: they were sure of winning and continued playing but how wrong they were! He gave us an example of a man who won lotto big time after several failed attempts but ended up using the whole money staking the same lotto and lost it all in the end. There were many of such examples he gave us. In his experience, there is something that drives people to stake more even if they won: it’s addictive.

“Your wants become great” when you involve yourself in games such as lotto while your wealth (if you have any) grows smaller – this was his emphasis. Though I did remember staking lotto twice in my lifetime but that was in the late nineties. How did I end up staking lotto twice with my small change of chop money? Like many, I also dreamt about lotto numbers which turned out to be winning numbers. But when I dreamt again and played those numbers on two occasions, guess what happened! Your guess is as good as mine: I didn’t win so I stopped.

The other form of “game”, which was popular during my time is the local game called “tsatsa” (cash spin machine), which I played on many occasions but the truth of those teachings by my father held true. When you win, you wanted to win more and ended up spending what you won on many occasions. Some did win but when you count the number of people who actually won (i.e. profited) compared to those who lost, the gap is as wide as the number of league titles won by Manchester United compared to Chelsea or Sunderland 😁😁.

Technology has changed the way things are done with the newest form of “game” or lotto being online betting. There are many betting companies with many apps developed for your smartphone. Add to the fact that our airwaves are flooded with adverts of making it by betting on football matches. Many youths are falling prey to this.

In November 2018, I read on the BBC website about the co-founder of Bet365, Denise Coates, paying herself a mouth-watering £265m in 2017 as her compensation and dividend, which was more than 5 times the next highest earner of bosses in the UK. Betting companies are making it and I am yet to hear of any betting company folding up due to bankruptcy while many “gamers” get addicted and continue to bet with the hope of making it big.

The last time I was involved in any form of gaming was around 2001 and I’m glad I heeded to my father’s advice early enough. There are many who are of the view that because the Bible didn’t explicitly prohibit betting or lottery, i.e. “thou shalt not bet or stake lotto”, it is okay to bet or stake lotto. There are many things that the Bible did not explicitly say but we know they are not good for us. Paul warned us, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not”, (1 Corinthians 10:23).

To bring this post to a close, if any young man or woman will ask me for an advice in this age, I will advice him or her to abstain from staking lotto and any form of lotto such as online betting. The secret to a happy and successful life is to learn to live within your means by being content with what you have. And the only way to do that is to heed to the teachings of the Bible on the matter: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you””, (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Avoid betting like Ebola virus disease and it shall be well with you.✌️✌️

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