Gambling for Sustainability: “Area Boys” and Gambling Behaviour in Lagos, Nigeria

  • Abeeb Olufemi Salaam


The present research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches to estimate the patterns of, and motivation for, gambling behaviour in a sample of “area boys” in Lagos, Nigeria. The participants (N = 189, age range = 18–32 years, mean age = 25.08years, S.D. = 3.76), recruited through the snowballing sampling technique, were requested to complete a self report anonymous questionnaire adapted from the DSM IV problem gambling criteria. Of these, 11 participants were randomly reselected to describe their gambling experiences during an oral in-depth interview. Adopting quantitative techniques, the results indicate that the large majority of the participants maintained a strong propensity towards gambling, as more than half gambled 3 or more times in a week. Regarding possible motivating risk factors for gambling behaviour, a thematic analysis of the qualitative interviews suggests the presence of economic desperation associated with hardship, reward salience/illusion, and the need to fit in with their peers. The possible implications of these findings in relation to the harm minimisation strategies are discussed.


Youth gangs Area boys Gambling Economic desperation Peer pressure 



The author would like to acknowledge the supports given by Messers Ibrahim Salaam (Ebedi), Saliu Kareem (Oloyin), and Sogbade Rasaki Adio (Manager) for facilitating the interview with the selected members of area boys in Lagos, Nigeria. Without their support, the process of data collection with the gang members would not have been possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of Human SciencesUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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