Monday, July 20, 2009

The growing problem of illegal gambling in Myanmar

Myanmar is having a growing problem with illegal gambling in the country. People who are earning only 1 to 3 US dollars a day are spending large portions of their money on the illegal numbers games. Many of the poor are lured into the gambling with dreams of big winnings and a way out of their lives in poverty.

Prosecution of the gambling is difficult because most police in Myanmar can be bought off with a bribe, some receive a cut of the money if the winner is from their patrol.

From IRIN, we learn more about the gambling from NGO's who are witnessing the problem.

On the streets of Yangon, the former capital, the so-called "two digits" illegal lottery is so popular that development workers call it one of the most serious problems facing the children of poor families. It is especially popular among the poorest, who can least afford to lose their daily wages of US$1-$3.

Agents willing to take bets are everywhere - in cities, market towns and rural areas across Southeast Asia's second-largest nation of 58 million. But there is no social safety net, nothing to stop a family from going under when the betting losses add up.

"They bet because they think they'll get a big win, and then their troubles will be over," said a Burmese community worker, who runs self-help groups for poor women living in temporary shelters around Yangon.

''When they've lost everything they must give up their house, take their children out of school and send them to work. Often they will end up begging.''

Myanmar's citizens are no better off now than 20 years ago, and most subsist on an average annual income of less than $200 per capita, the US State Department reports.

According to a 2005 UN Development Programme (UNDP) household survey, one-third of Myanmar's population lives below the poverty line.

Inflation is adding to the economic burden, with the price of rice, for example, up by 30 percent over the past year alone.

In an extensive survey by an international NGO, Myanmar children cited gambling as one of their biggest problems.

This story hits home for me, because we just decided to stop playing the legal lottery here in our home state of Michigan. Even those of us who are not poor will dream of having more. But those "dreams" seem pretty selfish in comparison to those who only earn a dollar a day.

1 comment:

child protection software said...

Ya most of the countries are effect with the gambling problem. Government should do some thing for this to prevent from this problem