The proportion of people in Macau who gambled in 2016 went up compared to 2013, reversing a decline recorded over the previous decade, according to a study by the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at University of Macau.
More than half or 51.5 percent of Macau residents aged 18 and above participated in at least one form of gambling activity in 2016, up two percentage points from 49.5 percent in 2013, the study found.
Gambling participation rate in Macau was 67.9 percent in 2003.
The results of the study – commissioned by Macau’s Social Welfare Bureau – were disclosed during a symposium on responsible gambling held in Macau on Tuesday. The event was attended by several Macau officials, including the head of the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Paulo Martins Chan.
The study involved a sample size of 2,000. In a comparison of international gambling participation, Macau’s 51.5 percent rate was lower than Singapore’s 52 percent; the city-state conducted its latest study in 2017.
According to the same study by the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming, when it came to probable pathological and problem gambling, Macau’s rate was 2.5 percent in 2016. That was above Singapore’s 0.9 percent.
In a separate study also disclosed on Tuesday, the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming said that awareness regarding responsible gambling among Macau residents was increasing. The awareness rate stood at 63.7 percent in 2017, up by 3.2 percentage points compared to 2013, and was much higher than the 16.2 percent rate recorded in 2009.
The institute, led by scholar and legislator Davis Fong Ka Chio, concluded that the increase in awareness regarding responsible gaming reflected a “considerable degree of success” achieved by responsible gaming campaigns in Macau.
Mr Fong’s team however said more effort should be devoted to helping gamblers to limit their respective gambling budgets to “an affordable level”, in order “to further reduce the harm caused by gambling to a socially-accepted level.”
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”They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue [licence renewal] at all”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands