By Sailu Bah
Employees of the banned betting games businesses are renewing their
appeal to the executive to rescind its decision and allow them to work again and support their families as the Gambia joins the rest of the world in commemorating workers day on 1 May.Today is exactly 59 days since an executive order was issued from the
office of the president banning all the gaming and betting businesses in
the Gambia from operating with immediate effect. This decision,
however, has affected many families whose breadwinners who were
working in these businesses were abruptly rendered unemployed and
deprived of income to support their livelihoods. It is even reported
that thousands of workers who depended on the operations of these
game betting businesses around the country have been affected and
majority of them are said to be women.
Kadijatou Jallow, one of the former employees of Winner Betting
Company, said since the ban she has been out of work and without
income. She said it has been difficult for her to find another
employment as jobs are scarce in the country.
“I have been supporting my mother, a widow, in the upkeep of the
family with the salary I was earning from this game betting company. I
was supplementing the little income she earns from her petty trade as
a street vendor. I was the only one working in the family since the
death of my father a few years ago,” said Ms. Jallow.
She also disclosed that the company she was working for has now opened
another business in Guinea Bissau.
“I’m appealing to the government if it is possible to reverse its
decision and lift the ban for the sake of providing employment to Gambians and
supporting poor families,” she appealed.
Ms. Jallow further revealed that life is very difficult for her and
the family as her source of income is now closed.
Aja Darboe, an employee of Premium Game, another gaming business
affected by the ban, also confirmed the hardship she and her family
are experiencing now as a result of the closure.
Ms. Darboe, who is in her early 20s and lives in Brikama,
said she now sits at home without engaging in any decent job that she
can earn income from to support herself and the family.
“It is my parents who have to struggle alone now to ensure that the
family survives,” she said.
She said the job gave her respect in the neighbourhood and a sense of
Fatou jobe, a former employee of Gambia National
Lottery, said she was the sole bread winner in an extended family and
is appealing to government to consider their situation and
intervene on their behalf.
She said she has been working for the company for a decade and
has risen from the position of a kiosk attendant to a senior member of
Alieu Jagne, a middle aged man, who revealed he was involved in game
betting as a means of earning income to sustain his family, said the
move is devastating as it leaves them with no legitimate means of
He said the ban was sudden and did not allow them time to adjust or
find other ways of earning a living.
“The reason that the government advanced that pupils absent themselves
from school and spent their lunch money at game betting places can be
easily addressed without resorting to a blanket banning of all gaming
places as children bet in football games in video clubs. Adults are
doing this openly in order to be able to feed their children and pay
their schools fees, etc,” he explained.
Efforts to reach the Director General of the Gambia Tourism Board
(GTB) to know what impact the ban has on the industry were not
Foroyaa will talk to Government officials to find out how this development has
affected the tourism industry.