Gamblers Go Back
Translator : Katy Mok
70% of Hong Kong population is in favor of raising the legal gambling age up to 21 years old
The government and the new Legislative Council should respect public opinion to curb youth gambling
Hong Kong has been claimed that the city does not encourage gambling, but a number of front-line gambling counseling agencies found that the trend of youth gambling becomes more and more fiery. Moreover, according to the survey commissioned by the Government and conducted by Polytechnic University last year, nearly 40% of the teenagers who were under 18 years old had involved in gambling activities in the past, in which about 40% started tasting the "fun" of gambling at the age of 10-13. While about 30% even started gambling before 10 years of age, in which 3% of these teenagers were diagnosed as problem or pathological gamblers, the situation is really worrying. Most of the teenage respondents stated that their first gambling act was under the influence of their friends or classmates. However, Hong Kong government has been ignoring the seriousness of the problem. The government also disregard the results of the related studies which pointed out that the earlier a person participate in gambling activities, the higher the chance he or she becomes problem or pathological gamblers! In recent years, the government even connived the horse owners to bring minors into the racecourse during horse racing so as to "enjoy" the atmosphere of horse racing, cultivating the "successors" in horse racing gambling activities.
The survey also pointed out that, in recent years, the neighboring countries and regions (such as Macau, Singapore and Malaysia, etc.) all set the legal gambling age as 21 years old. In fact, many casinos around the world (such as Las Vegas, New Jersey, Atlanta and Monaco, etc.), the admission age threshold is also 21 years old. While in Hong Kong, the survey conducted by Polytechnic University also found that nearly 70% of the respondents (68.6%) agreed that the legal gambling age should be raised up to 21 years from 18 years of age. The survey also considered that "The Government ought to refer to the neighboring countries and regions to develop a gambling policy, the upcoming legal gambling age should be raised to 21 years of age." We strongly urge the government department, Legislative Councilors and the candidates of the Legislative Council election, to respect the public opinion and to support the legislation to set the legal gambling age as 21 years, to reduce the negative impact of gambling on young people and society as a whole as soon as possible.