The study, carried out by Wai Ming To and Gui-Hai Huang of the Macao Polytechnic University, surveyed 1,352 Macau casino guests. Of these participants, approximately one-third were Macau residents, while 50% were from mainland China.
Titled “Profiling of Gamblers and Problem Gamblers Among Casino Patrons in Macau SAR”, the study was used to construct a profile of a typical problem gambler, with researchers suggesting that a middle-aged Chinese man who is separated, widowed or divorced and lives alone has the highest probability of suffering from problem gambling.
Additionally, research indicated that being aged between 35 and 54, and being of the Buddhist faith further affected gambling behaviour.
The study detailed: “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.”
Survey participants reported gambling in casinos at least once in the past 12 months, with over 90% reporting gambling in Macau casinos and slot lounges. Slot machines, baccarat and Sic Bo made up the most popular forms of gambling.
According to the report, the median monthly gambling expenditure was HK$1,845 (US$235.24).
The study went on to say: “In terms of the frequency, duration and monthly expenditure on gambling, the study’s results showed that the median frequency of gambling was 24 times a year and the median duration of each gambling session was three hours.”
Finally, the report put forward a stark statistic, suggesting that one in five Macau casino guests were problem gamblers.