New Research Establishes the Profile of Problem Gamblers in Macau

Macau continues with attempts to better understand problem gambling and how to prevent social ills when one of the Special Administrative Regions’ main economic outputs has to do with the industry. A new study on the prevalence of gambling now posits a theoretical profile of who problem gamblers are and what motives them.

Macau Researchers Dig into the Profile of Problem Gamblers

The ambitious paper, which cares the equally ambitious title of “Profiling of Gamblers and Problem Gamblers Among Casino Patrons in Macau SAR,” sets out to dig deeper into the psyche of what motivates gamblers. This research is doubly important as it comes at a time when one of Asia’s biggest gambling hubs is looking to extricate itself from its dependency on the sin industry.

The study was carried out by Macao Polytechnic University’s Wai Ming To and Gui-Hai Huang who used a sample of 1,352 Macau casino guests to draw their conclusions. All participants had participated in some form of gambling in the 12 months leading up to the interview date for the study. 90% confirmed that they had done so in Macau casinos and slot lounges.

The researchers accounted for local versus foreign visitors, with one-third of the sample people residents of the SAR. According to the study, people who lived alone, were middle-aged and divorced had a good probability of becoming problem gamblers or suffering from gambling-related harm.

Interestingly, the researchers further added that the age groups between 35 and 54 were most likely to experience this problem. Faith may also have something to do with Buddhists arguably more likely to be affected by this behavior.

Religious Belief Might Have Something to Do with Problem Gambling

While the evidence seems sparse and a little rushed at first, the researchers stand by their observations. The paper notes:

While the association between Buddhism and problem gambling seems a bit surprising, it can be explained that Chinese men who are influenced by Confucianism and Buddhism see gambling, including casino gambling, to be a socially reinforced activity and a way of testing one’s luck and fate.

Profiling of Gamblers and Problem Gamblers Among Casino Patrons in Macau SAR

The survey further noted that Sic Bo, baccarat and slot machines remained the most popular games sought out by gamblers. Researchers were able to pinpoint other important behavior-related metrics, such as the average gambling session per gambler (three hours) and the average visitation to gambling establishments, 24 hours. The report did note, though, that one-in-five Macau casino guests may suffer from problem gambling.

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