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Our neighbour


Our neighbour F


rom 1970 to 1978, for example, 90 per cent of Macau’s visitors were from Hong Kong. From 1993 on, the percentage of Hong Kong visitors began to decline gradually, “because of increase of Mainland visitors and Taiwan visitors. In 2003 for the first time


the number of Mainland visitors overtook that of Hong Kong visitors and became the dominant visitors to Macau,” states Professor Zhonglu Zheng, Macau Polytechnic Institute. Other characteristics of the Hong Kong gambler, which the


renowned investigator also collected, is that even though Macau has increased casinos, gambling tables, slot machines and the minimum betting money on each hand, “the gambling involvement in Macau’s casinos and their median betting money each month remain almost unchanged from 2001 to 2011.” According to Professor Zheng, from the Gaming Education &


Research Centre, “Hong Kong residents’ interest in Macau’s casino gambling doesn’t increase even though Macao had more casinos and tables.” Another important piece of research on this subject is the Comparative Study of the Motivations, Activities, Overall Satisfaction and Post-Trip Behaviours of International Tourists in Macau: Mainland Chinese, Hongkongese, Taiwanese, and Westerners, by a team led by Sung Hee Park, from MUST. They begin to assume that, “there’s evidence from the


literature that there are distinctive nuances among the three cultural groups,” and the research proves it: Hong Kong tourists have higher intentions to return to Macau than the others, for instance. In the same line of thought, “Hong Kong tourists are more attracted to local and cultural resources as well as entertainment” or “Hong Kong travellers to Macau represent the highest proportion of young travellers.” Even the differences between those groups “are relatively


subtle”, as other research underlines, “for Macau’s casinos, understanding the subcultural differences of Chinese customers is critical, given that nearly 90 per cent of Macau’s customers come from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong,” states the


20 NOVEMBER 2020


The opening of new resorts and the increase in the supply of gaming tables does not seem to have been enough to entice more Hong Kong residents to come and gamble in Macau.


article published in 2017 in Macau Business (“Know your Chinese gambler,” from Institute for Tourism Studies). For their part, Hong Kong gamblers “were likely to take longer to place a bet” or, “showed higher tendencies to try new games, ask for an explanation of a game and show a ‘peak-and- valley [volatile] betting pattern.” Let’s return to the research of Professor Zhonglu Zheng. He is one of the authors of To Gamble or Not? Perceptions of Macau Among Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong Visitors (2012). Among the main findings, we learn that 47.2 per cent of the Mainland Chinese had gambled in Macau casinos, but only 27.6 per cent of the Hong Kong citizens did the same. On the other side, Mainland gamblers and Mainland non-gamblers, “cited leisure and vacation as their primary motivation for visiting Macau” (and many non-gamblers said they were in MSAR for shopping purposes). But the behaviour of the Honk Kong travellers is different: while gamblers assume they are visiting Macau naturally to gamble, non-gamblers said in this research that their primary purpose is to visit friends and relatives, “and to enjoy delicacies.” The authors conclude that, “Macau has not been perceived as a shopping paradise by Hong Kong residents.”


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