Zim’s Unemployed Turn to Gambling

Scores of people could be seen wandering up and down the streets of Harare. Vendors are fully packed in the pavements with their unmelodious voices shouting as they market their different wares.

Hundreds of people outstrip each other as they race against time in a bid to report to work punctually.

While this has become a daily routine to the formally employed, Denius Kwedu, has a different story to tell.

For the 30 year old father of two, gambling is the main source of income. He wakes up early in the morning and waits for Moors World of Sport to open so that he can start his daily endeavors.

After he was laid off from work in 2013, he has been looking for work as a general hand.  All his efforts were fruitless as chances of being employed in Zimbabwe continue to shrink with industries closing at an alarming rate.

As the formal sector continues to shrink multitudes of people in Kwedu’s shoes bet on world soccer matches, international horse and dog races with ardent hope to secure funds to feed their families from the quick returns earned through betting.

Denius says he has won on several occasions with his greatest win being $600 from a $10 ante on a match between Barcelona and Juventus.

Despite his frequent loses Denius vowed that he will continue with gambling till he secures employment.

“I don’t always win,” he says adding that, “I will continue betting as long as I’m not formally employed.”

Soccer betting, certainly the biggest in the gambling, has provide an escape route to many unemployed people in the country.

Other popular leagues which soccer punters are interested in are the South African ABSA Premier League, the Italian league, Spanish La Liga and the French Ligue 1.

Raymond Marisho, another gambler, who mainly focuses on dog races, applauded the initiative.

“From just three minutes you can make huge sums of money. I have won several times, actually I have won more than I have lost,” boosted Marisho.

His usual win is $30 but at one point he pocketed $300 from a 3 minute dog race.

The country’s unemployment rate is estimated by the government at about 11 percent, while independent economists and economic bodied place it at 90%.

The skyrocketing level of unemployed has arguably forced many people in the country to survive on hand to mouth.

Zimbabweans are evidently grasping anything that brings food on the table.

Alex Zulu, the Manager Moors World of Sport said the high levels of unemployment have forced many people into sports betting.

“The public is now accepting the betting initiative as they have realised that there are no jobs in the country and people are looking for money which betting seems to be offering,” he said.

He also said that the Barclays English Premier League attracts much attention and racks in most of our proceeds.

The two year old company mainly focuses on sports like ice hawking, boxing soccer horse racing

Zulu also said, “from as little as one dollar you can pocket $50 000 as long as you have more than 11 events on that ticket.”

Meanwhile government has stopped awarding betting licenses an effort to limit a surge in gambling. Up to date, eight sports betting companies have been licensed in Zimbabwe.

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