Macau’s Social Welfare Bureau reports 30% decrease in gambling addicts

By Peter Lynch

A total of 77 gambling addicts were added to the Macau Social Welfare Bureau’s (IAS) central registration system in 2020, a 30% decrease from 2019.

Last year saw 110 people added to the system, according to figures released by IAS Prevention and Treatment of Problem Gambling and Drug Dependence Department chief Cheang Io Tat.

There are, however, suggestions from the department that the year-on-year decrease could be linked to fewer people revealing their gambling addiction amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Cheang highlighted the prevalence of gambling and drug addiction in younger people, saying that the IAS is continuously working hard to reach out to younger people in need of help.

The IAS noted that young people are more vulnerable to hidden addiction problems as their brain development allows them to be more adventure-seeking.

The bureau is now working in collaboration with Bosco Youth Service Network Go Go Goal, launching an app that challenges young people to complete specific tasks throughout the day, including exercise, volunteer work, community services and further study.

By keeping track of their activities, young people can accomplish specific goals to receive prizes, with the bureau hoping that a healthier lifestyle will be promoted, thus keeping youths away from any forms of addiction.

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