With International Men's Day being observed on Saturday, November 19, I would like to issue a challenge as well as increase awareness among our Jamaican men with regard to both gambling and responsible gambling.
According to the just-completed Adult Study on Gambling in Jamaica 2022, men are more likely than their female counterparts to report engaging in all of the main types of gambling activities over the course of their lifetime. Over two-thirds of men surveyed reported that they had engaged in some gambling activity compared to a little over half of the women. Women (45.5 per cent) were significantly more likely than men (29.7 per cent) to have never gambled.
Given the above-mentioned data, it is understandable why the study went further to reveal that men were significantly more likely than women to be classified as problem gamblers. Comparatively, another study in the UK also found that men gambled more often, with more money, and are at greater risk of developing gambling problems than women.
Based on all that I have shared thus far, my call for greater responsibility and control by men when gambling is justified. I also call for those men who have problems with gambling to seek help and short circuit the damage being done to self and family.
The call for greater awareness and action by men with regard to responsible gambling is also very timely as we anticipate the start of the Fifa World Cup in Qatar. Some facts are again necessary here. Football is believed to be the most popular sport in the world. According to international data, around 70 per cent of all worldwide legal and illegal betting comes from wagering on soccer. Regarding online sports betting, men outnumber women by four to one in making bets on this now-popular platform.
I am encouraging all men who engage in sports betting to be mindful of your activities at this time and gamble responsibly. The negative effects of disordered or problematic gambling range from personal to familial destruction as the consequences are quite far reaching and often involve other people. As men within our households we must provide and model behaviour that enhances the entire family in general but also the younger males specifically. Responsible gambling requires that you always be in control, set, and be aware of your money and time limits, never chase money that you have already lost and continuously improve your gambling literacy.
As Jamaica's gaming industry continues to expand, providing greater opportunities to gamble, and as data shows the proclivity of men to gamble more than women, there is an increased likelihood of men developing gambling disorders.
The Betting Gaming & Lotteries Commission (BGLC)/RISE Life Management Services (RISE) Responsible Gambling Programme continues to provide support and appeals to all Jamaican men who gamble to carry out a self-assessment to ensure that they protect themselves and their families from the possible harms of problematic gambling. Anyone in need of help should reach out to the programme for support.
Be responsible, and have a great International Men's Day.
BGLC/RISE Responsible Gambling Programme
RISE Life Management Services