(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia Sunday issued a presidential decree banning lotteries, casinos and all forms of gambling in the small West African country.
The ban comes into effect on Monday and all gambling operators and establishments in the country have been instructed to cease operations.
A statement on the State House website said the decision to ban the ‘unethical and exploitative businesses’ is aimed at safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the Gambian people.
Mr Jammeh said as Gambian society was built on the foundations of promoting positive social values like thrift and integrity rather than negative ones like greed and avarice, it is the duty of his government to safeguard and promote the welfare of his people.
Mr Jammeh said sports betting and gambling dens have in recent years mushroomed all over the country and pupils including seven year-olds now line at kiosks during school hours and spend their ‘lunch money’ on sports betting tickets. He added that many families now often go hungry because household incomes are wagered in gambling dens.
“While proponents argue that gambling and lotteries could be effective ways to raise taxes, it is clearly evident that these vices often hurt those who are poor and disadvantaged,” he added.
“The social and economic costs are enormous and show up in the shattered lives of individuals and their families.”
Mr Jammeh said as Gambians are predominantly followers of Islam and Christianity which both strictly forbid adherents from engaging in gambling, his government will vigorously take all actions to prevent youths from becoming a generation of compulsive and addicted gamblers.