Mumbai: Gambling becomes sport for street children

Gambling is becoming a social and recreational activity for the street children in Mumbai as per a study conducted by the Eastern Michigan University along with the Don Bosco Research Center.

The analysis reports that irrespective of the reasons they leave home, many street youths spend a lot of their daily time and money gambling as a result of the influence of their peer group, as per Indian Express.

The study states that younger children participate in gambling more by observing others. While, participants aged between 12 to 15 indicated that half of them gambled for 2 to 4 hours daily and others for more than 4 hours.

The reason might be the limited availability of options for younger children on the streets. So, after begging for food, they spend most of their time in observing these groups or doing gambling.

On the other hand, older youths disappear without telling the group, perhaps involved in other activities such as prostitution, visiting clandestine adult gambling venues where a younger adolescent would instantly stand out as being out of place, or taking more serious drugs.

“There is thus a need for agencies and governmental organisations to immediately improve recreational activities, offer awareness programmes, and create saving opportunities among their services to street children,” the report states.

Around 60% of the youths spend between Rs 1,000 to 1,500 a month on gambling. About 31% of participants spent between Rs 1,500 to 2,500, half their monthly income. Some study participants did mention budgeting the day’s wages-spending on essentials like food and a daily quota of cigarettes before using the rest of the money to gamble.