Withope Foundation is an award-winning registered Nonprofit Organization, which is known for its charity health activities, and for bringing out innovative ideas to control Hypertension, Diabetes, and several other chronic health conditions. Also, we research social issues and come out with insightful recommendations to correct challenges surrounding them to help make our dear nation a better place.
The organization was awarded the NGO of the year in 2022 during the leadership choice awards at Accra Conference Hall. Brothers and sisters, the most unfortunate and unfair situation one can ever experience is to suffer what he/she never had any idea of the cause. A lot of people have attracted several chronic disease conditions just because they never knew their usual activities are the gateway to their unhealthy situations now. As an organization, we have availed ourselves to serve the purpose of educating Ghanaians and the world at large on health, and also research on health and social issues to bring out innovative recommendations to help keep our society safe. This patriotic services ushered us to be a proud stakeholder of the Energy Transition Forum held by the Energy Ministry of Ghana at Kumasi Golden Tulip on the 1st of March 2022.
As part of our series of activities, we embarked on research on the streets of Kumasi, Obuasi, and Accra to figure out some lifestyles which are directly connected to our health. There, we noted the deadly effect of GAMBLING on the physiology of the heart and its negative social effects, which are overlooked by the Gaming Commission of Ghana.
Also, the CEO of Withope Foundation shares a practical experience with this unfortunate situation and testify to its depth of addiction, and the overwhelming detrimental effects it imposes on our social life and health.
Hypertension is a very deadly health problem that is extremely difficult to skip in ones life. It needs a very strict set of disciplinary measures in our daily activities to stay away from it. Why do I say so? Over 50% of the modern style of living gradually prepares us to meet this unwanted health state after we have crossed our youthful age and are in a deteriorating immune state. Most of these lifestyles have been discussed in our previous write-ups on our blog (https://withopefoundationgh.org) but today we present the results of a carefully researched cause of this chronic disease condition.
Also, we have made provisions which is expected to be implemented by various stakeholders especially the Gaming Commission of Ghana to control this situation.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF HYPERTENSION
First of all, let’s explain the pathophysiology of hypertension. Hypertension is simply the consistent elevation of the systolic and diastolic record of ones Blood Pressure. How is this possible? The blood serves as a fuel of the human body which carries Oxygen, nutrients and all products of metabolism throughout the body to sustain life. This vital circulation is facilitated by two organs; the heart and the blood vessels. The heart serves as the main engine which receive deoxygenated blood from all part of the body, enrich it with oxygen from the lungs and pump it back to the whole system. And the blood vessels serves us tubes that carry the blood pumped by the heart across. Here; the veins transport deoxygenated blood from the body to the heart while the arteries aid the blood from the heart through out the body after it has been oxygenated.
With this basic knowledge, any distortion of the Pressure of Blood circulation from the heart through the blood vessels can basically be attributed to a defect of these two organs (the heart or blood vessels). Today we are dealing with the heart and a dominant new practice among our youths, that gradually exposes us to hypertension. This new practice is ‘Online Sports and Casino betting’ which is causing traffic in the waves of our able youth.
This is a result of the stress and anxiety that goes along with the betting process. When one is stressed or anxious, the body releases hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol which cause an increase in heart rate and a stronger contraction of the heart muscles. In addition, the blood vessels that direct blood to the large tissues of the heart dilates, thereby increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body which increases blood pressure. This is also known as the fight or flight response.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ONLINE SPORTS AND CASINO BETTING AND HYPERTENSION, AND ALSO OTHER SOCIAL NEGATIVE EFFECTS IT IMPOSES ON US ACCORDING TO RESEARCH BY WITHOPE FOUNDATION
The information provided by the Ghana Gaming Commission as a caution to gamblers is, and I quote “ NOT SUITABLE FOR PERSONS UNDER 18, GAMBLING CAN BE ADDICTIVE and finally BET RESPONSIBLY“. This is right but Withope Foundation believes the major discretion is left out. And this is “GAMBLING PREDISPOSES US TO HYPERTENSION”. Of course,
several other health problems can be caused by the shock and anxiety that comes out of the loss but the alteration of the function of the heart in this situation is a 100% proven fact and must gain special attention. Also, a lot can be done by the commission to get these cautions they have already provided on gambling, down to customers very well to sufficiently served its expected purpose.
Health is the most important factor of human life and so we believe the health outcome of every activity must be clearly established to the knowledge of customers. People must be responsible for their health, and the primary step to this is educating them on their health.
Withope Foundation engaged the streets of Kumasi, Obuasi, and Accra and carried out a survey to see how accurate this claim in question is. We randomly picked out 500 serious gamblers who gamble as much as GHS10,000 at a go. We pick people who have normal Blood Pressure, which is within the range of (Systolic = 95-135 and Diastolic= 60- 85). 60% (300) of them engage in Casino games such as aviator, red or black, odd or even, etc. While the remaining 40%(200) bet on live sports games such as football basketball, etc.
We gave the Casino plays 20 minutes to play. We then checked their Blood Pressures before, during, and after betting, and the outcome was very alarming. We recorded different sets of results throughout the process. 95% (285) of the Casino Players who recording normal Blood Pressures (120/80 mm) pre-gambling, suddenly recorded abnormally high blood pressures between (180/100mmgh and 140/90) after they placed their assets on the games and were anticipating the outcome. Only 5% had a relatively same Blood Pressure throughout.
Out of the 295 Casino players who got a sudden higher Blood Pressure, 50 of them which represents about 21% won some profits on their capitals whiles the remaining 79% lost either all or part of their capital. About 25 minutes after the game, those who won some profits had their Blood Pressures dropped to normal whiles the 79% who lost their money spent about an hour before their Blood Pressures dropped to normal.
The 200 people to placed their bets on the Live Sports Games had a better statistics overall as compared to the Casino Players because, it takes a duration for their games to be settled so the anxiety is not really spontaneous. For instance, if you select matches from the English Premier League and bet on them, they won’t play at the same time and even if they do, it takes 90 minutes for the game to be over to settle the score, so their level of anxiety during the process are controlled by time and so their Blood Pressure fluctuation is quite insignificant.
Scientifically this sudden blood pressure fluctuation is a natural response of the body to anxious circumstances. It can be classified as normal but your safety can’t be guaranteed if you go through this situation consistently for about a decade. Persistently exposing your system to neutralize abnormal attacks weakens our immunity and we get exposed when our system is less defensive, that is after 45 years.
Also majority of Casino Players also exerted a very strong and fast heart beats during the process and this discomfort has a serious health implication in the long run. One of the Casino Games that tremendously endangered their hearts to abnormal fast and strong beats is the “aviator game”. In this game, you place your assets on the mercies of a moving aircraft and looses it if the aircraft crushes against your time of withdrawal. Players of this game recorded very strong and uncomfortable cardiac output and needs a serious control by the various regulatory bodies.
SUMMARY OF OUR RESEARCH
It is clear that Online Betting especially Casino Games can be regarded as a dangerous act which force the immune of the body to action. According to the research, there is a 95% possibility that victim these games will experience Blood Pressure fluctuation out of the anxiety associated with the act. This factual discovery predisposes us to Chronic Hypertension if we keep on for over a decade. Most of these gamblers engage in Narcotic Drugs as a remedy to control their tension during the process but clearly, there is a pending serious side effect which can’t be taken for granted. This assertion can be experimented by anyone who may be in doubt and I believe you will join our campaign after your experience.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE WRITER AND HIS REMARKS
I became a victim of irresponsible betting through the advice of a friend, when I was trapped with a very uncomfortable financial situation and needed a way out, but it ended up in a very terrible experience. Unfortunately, I lost my whole assets which is over GHS100,000 including loans, on Sporty-bet and 1xbet platform with betting accounts +233543313978 and 480822785 respectively. This ignorant step I took has had a significant effect on my economic and psychological growth, it has corrupted the trust I had from my family and society and almost ended me in some criminal seats I never thought could come my way.
This sad experience made me realize the Gaming Commission of Ghana have a very significant role to play if indeed, their mission is to discourage irresponsible gambling. I went in with the less information available and committed to such a huge loss gradually till I found myself in huge debts. This also cements the addictive factor which is rightly projected by the Gaming Commission of Ghana. Indeed gambling is addictive. It is addictive in the sense that, you try to win back your lost assets before you withdraw from the practice but ends up losing more and more till you can’t afford to quit anymore.
However, the most sensitive caution which is directly connected to the most important factor of our life (health) is left out, and this is the spontaneous strong and rapid heartbeat we experience in the process. I believe if customers of such games gets the right information, it will empower them to make informed decisions. I entered the game out of ignorance and believe am not alone in this situation. I endangered my health because I never knew the act affects the physiology of my heart.
Moreover, I realized the game is designed to absorb the assets of whoever commits too high. For instance on the Sportybet platform, cash withdrawal has strict restrictions but deposits are with no such restrictions. As at October 2022, clients who transacted through Mobile Money wasn’t allowed to withdraw over GHS 30,000 in a month but can deposit what ever amount they want and this clearly shows that the platform is designed strategically to drain assets of innocent citizens.
I am a victim of this claim and have the records to prove. Fortunately for me, I have been able to excuse myself from the game but can testify how difficult it was to let go of my huge loss. But on the positive note, the health implications I identified can’t be buried but share to the world through the Gaming Commission of Ghana and all stakeholders, to set customers alert and guide them to make informed decisions as long as Online Sports Betting is concerned.
You are doing a great work as a commission responsible for gaming regulations, but the caution you give out do not really reach out to customers and I believe several measures can be deployed to make your regulations effective and impactful. Though this confession as a victim of irresponsible gambling may be seen as an inditement to my credibility, but I think we are all victims of unfortunate situations in one way or the other, but the way forward after our mistakes is what matters. And so, I sacrifice by sharing my shortfalls to guide others to have a better approach, when they are being hit with the same situation.
Weather we accept it or not, betting is destroying our youth in many ways and we need to speak out as patriotic citizens. Apart from the health effects it imposes on us, it also has a serious social distraction to our future leaders. Students are loosing concentration because of gambling, businessmen are crushing from the system because of this same Gambling. Recently there was a report from Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology that, some students were dropped out because they spent their school bills on Sports betting, and we can’t watch these betting companies to come and ruin our future as a country. They call themselves Sports Betting Companies but have Casino games on their sites which in my opinion, disposes a serious risk on the progress of our cherished youth. Personally, I nearly collapsed my Non-profit organization and my Nursing job, which is serving the nation positively because of the depression and addiction I went through with betting. Of course I shouldn’t have involved myself in the act, but without the right education on the betting act, financial constraints can easily lead one there and before he realizes, he has sacrificed his impactful services to the country and become a full time gambler which practically do not serve the nation in any way .
RECOMMENDATIONS BY WITHOPE FOUNDATION
The heart is a very delicate organ which must be preserved very well to avoid deadly health problems like Congenital Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, heart failure, Coronary Artery Disease, etc. And gambling is one of the poisons, we inject gradually against our knowledge. As a Public Health Organization and a victim of the game, we send a humble request to the Gaming Commission of Ghana to carefully consider this identified problem. And project it on various gaming advertisements. We acknowledge and respect your control over gaming activities in Ghana but as nation builders, shortfalls will be continuously identified and rectified to build a better Ghana, and I believe this is one of such situations. Once again, we do not aim to call off betting business, but to make this caution of it being a risk factor of Hypertension, known to customers, so that they can be fully responsible for their activities. We believe in the Gaming Commission of Ghana and their commitment to sanitizing the gaming atmosphere. We can be sure that, after carefully examining this request, the new message of caution will be (NOT FOR PERSONS UNDER 18, GAMBLING CAN BE ADDICTIVE, BET RESPONSIBLY and the new propose “GAMBLING CAN LEAD TO HYPERTENSION”).
Also, another recommendation we humbly propose to the Gaming Commission of Ghana is to order gaming centers to hire health professionals to monitor the blood pressure of their customers before they grant them access to their Casino services. This will serve a great impact by eliminating people with cardiac problems and not fit for such activities, and also alarm people on the possible risk they stand, if they do not bet responsibly. Again this activity will generally amplify and promote health in our various communities and create sanity as far as health is concerned. The anatomy and physiology of the heart during panic situations should also be projected at betting venues for customers to witness for themselves. This will inform customers to be fully responsible for their actions.
Furthermore, betting companies should be ordered to provide visuals that clearly inform customers on the risks of irresponsible gambling. Of course betting companies have notes on their respective websites that gives out a caution but it’s impact is less significant. If the companies genuinely stand by their claim of demonstrating responsible services, then a lot can be done. Victims of irresponsible gambling can be hired to share their experiences on various visual mediums to get gamblers well informed. These videos of caution should also be played consistently at betting venues. This will have a remarkable impact in the betting atmosphere and drastically reduce irresponsible gambling. For example if a video of a person loosing all his belongings through irresponsible betting or videos of people who looses their credibility and mental health through betting is consistently played at betting venues, it will have a direct psychological effect on customers and aid a very responsible participation.
In addition, I recommend that the Gaming Commission of Ghana should have a broad website platform which contains all the licensed betting companies, so that they can closely monitor consumers statistics and reach out to those who need to be advised or go through some sort of psychological rehabilitations. This will mean that gamblers will have to log into that particular website provided by the commission, and on that platform they will select their respective betting sites. This will aid all sports betting activities to fall under one umbrella by the commission. Also, all betting platforms have provided a “self exclusion” opportunity for gamblers who want to take a break from gambling to assess, and this is a very positive regulatory option, but the problem here is that, when one excludes himself from platform ‘A’ he has the chance to register on platform’B’ if the addiction forces him to do so. So indirectly the self exclusion option is not really significant, but when all betting platforms are under one big portal which is monitored by the Gaming Commission Of Ghana, self exclusion will affect or betting platforms which will give it a better significance as expected. Also this development can help the commission to deploy a taxation strategy on the gamblers who win and also the total gains of betting companies will be monitored for accurate taxation, and this will serve as a revenue for the state.
Again the security forces should be charged to enforce betting companies to be guided with various directives they have been provided. Betting venues are always filled with people below 18 years of age because there is no strict enforcement to keep the orders. Sports gambling is really affecting the development of our youth and this is a very alarming situation the Gaming Commission of Ghana should strictly address. The game is played for fun but without strict regulations, people will end up committing their whole life to it and end up being waste to the society. Practically, I am almost in this state and I know I am not the only victim. Once again Withope Foundation do not aim to collapse betting business but to enforce and strengthen their regulations to prevent the negative health and social effects it can potentially plant on the future leaders of our dear nation.
Finally, the strategic design of various betting platforms has a very low chances for customers and the Gaming Commission of Ghana must fight for citizens by reviewing the winning rates of various games. For example, some betting platforms like Sportybet are designed to accept every deposit with no restrictions but have a specific limit placed on withdrawals. This makes it difficult to withdraw all your wins and indirectly keeps you in the game, which usually ends customers loosing everything on the platform at the long run, and in my opinion seems very unfair. If there is a limit to withdrawals, there should be a limit to deposits as well to indirectly control irresponsible gambling. Because if a customer has a certain limit he can’t deposit beyond within a month, he will be indirectly protected from potentially loosing all his assert through the addition that comes along especially when he looses too much and is in a hurry to break even. Again some Casino games like ‘money wheel’ on 1xBet has attractive odds on the wheel to entice customers but never plays such odds no matter how many times you play. I have played over 2,000 rounds on that particular game and the highest odd I witnessed was 25 odds, meanwhile it has up to 1,000 odds as potential results but never plays. These observations clearly points to the claim that, the design of the game is not fair and I believe the Gaming Commission Of Ghana has the absolute right and mandate to scrutinize betting companies on these set ups to create fair services to customers. The nation can’t sit and watch betting companies to come and strategically disable our cherished Human Resources who are the baseline for development.
Withope foundation will continue to analyze social issues and it’s relation to our health and development to keep Ghana and the entire world safe and productive. We believe that our potentials as humans are baseless if our health is altered. This is why every elected leader swears and takes out sickness as the only reason to be pardoned. Also our society will continue to face systemic challenges and it is our responsibility as leaders to take the driving seat in every aspect of our economy and make strategic and insightful decisions to guide citizens to be responsible in their activities. Not every irresponsible citizen decided to be like that, but sometimes the strategic designs of various aspects of our economy has the power to aid a noble man to an irresponsible state. We then take this as an opportunity to launch our appeal to the Gaming Commission of Ghana to critically analyze our humble observations and recommendations and act upon to keep our future leaders safe
Finally Withope Foundation takes this opportunity to propose to benefit from funds set for Cooperate Social Responsibilities by the Gaming Commission of Ghana, and all cooperations who believe in our mission, to keep us well equipped to facilitate our health and social research programs, and also maximize our health screening exercises and education, to help strengthen Public health and social development in our dear country and beyond.
THE GAME PAYS!
THE GAME IS FUN!!
BUT WITHOPE SAYS!
YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR SLOGAN!!
E-mail : email@example.com
Contact : +233596859293/ +233540460886
P .O. Box TA528 Tafo -Ashanti
Account details: Bank: Cal bank , Acc Name : Withope Foundation LBG, Acc No: 1400005892114
CEO : Mr. Abeka Isaac Osofo