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MACAU BUSINESS


Pathological Gambling


Pathological Gambling in Hong K


“I


n Hong Kong, very little research has been conducted on the prevalence of pathological gambling, or on the relationship between ‘the gambling personality’ and the illusion of control,” stated Elisabeth Papineau in 2005.


She quoted a Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2001)


survey on the Hong Kong people’s gambling habits, using the DSM-IV and the American conceptualization of pathological gambling. “In so doing, those researchers set themselves apart from their colleagues in the PRC by recognizing excessive gambling as a mental health problem.”


The ritual of the bi-weekly horse races, the permissiveness


associated with the mahjong gambling culture, and the great accessibility of games in Macao, have together allowed


in Hong Kong


excessive gambling to become a much greater problem in Hong Kong than in the PRC. Those fi ndings are corroborated by Professor Chi Chuen Chan, one of the authors of the book “Problem Gambling in Hong Kong and Macau - Etiology, Prevalence and Treatment” (2016, Springer). “There are more similarities than differences between Hong Kong gamblers and Macau gamblers”, he said to Macau Business. Professor Chan praised the measures to help gamblers,


especially from Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), the only government sanctioned and not-for-profi t gaming operator in HKSAR. “We believe that the future of gambling lies with the decisions and strategies of the HKJC. When compared with the integrated resorts in Macau, the HKJC has a number of effective responsible gambling measures”.


Fighting the W 22 NOVEMBER 2020


Fighting the “opium of the 21st century”


Diplomacy, education and law enforcement are key tools employed by mainland Chinese authorities to crackdown on illegal gambling, particularly online gambling, labelled by a mainland Government spokesperson as “a most dangerous tumour in modern society detested by people all across the world”


hen W88 fi rst appeared on the shirts of a Premier League Club (Wolverhampton, in 2018), British journalists asked the same question: what is W88? It was a previously unknown brand in


Europe and it didn’t even have a website in English, hinting that they weren’t looking for customers in the ‘Old Continent’.


Since then, W88 has gone through the shirts of Aston Villa and is this present season featured in the shirts of another Premier League team: Crystal Palace. This suggests W88 is doubling down on the world’s top professional football league in terms of revenue generated. This continued bet steps from a clear rationale: “a rapidly


growing brand in the gaming industry with a strong presence in Asia, specialized in sports betting, live dealer


“opium of the 21st century”


casino, poker, slots and lottery games”, W88 has found a way – apparently effective – to enter China, as Premier League matches are broadcast on a number of local platforms. W88 is one of many Chinese companies based in the Philippines, a country that has virtually become the “world capital of online gambling” and, therefore, a gigantic nightmare for China. According to the latest available data (pre-Covid-19), POGO – or a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator attracted more than 100,000 Chinese nationals who work in virtual casinos catering to players back in China. “Some 90 to 95% of POGO customers are located in China,” Ben Lee of IGamiX consultancy said this year to CNN. According to Chinese laws, this is illegal. Chinese laws ban


any form of gambling by its citizens, including online and overseas and that’s why China has increased pressure on the Philippines to ban or at least reduce POGO activity.


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