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 Recently Macau Legislative Council passed the bill Regulated Entrance to Gambling Areas and the Conditions of Staying and Gambling, that is to raise the minimum age limit of the gamblers from 18 to 21; the offenders should be fined from one to ten thousand Macau dollars. Besides, the stakes and the money the offender won would be confiscated to the Macau SAR government. Furthermore, the relatives of the gambler may apply for the ban of the gambler to enter the gambling venues up to two years. The passing of the bill aims at lessening the disadvantages of the addicted gambling and avoiding the youths too early to approach gambling activities. This is an advanced step which shows the active and positive action (passing the bill) of the Macau SAR government that is worth praising.

 

Since 2002, the gambling monopoly has been waived in Macau until now, the gambling industry is now blossoming everywhere. There are 34 casinos and ten gambling venues with Jackpot Slots/Video Machines. In 2010 the gross gambling profit is approaching 189.6 billion dollars and the gambling tax exceeds 68.7 billion dollars which is 86% of government's total revenue. The number of people employed in gambling industry is near 45 thousand and it is 20% of the total working population. Their salary is on average 15700 dollars a month and is 5000 dollars higher when compared with the people employed in banking. Owing to high employment rate, high salary and low academic requirement, many youths give up their studies and chances in other employment and choose gambling industry as their career. Some dealers in the casino are under the age of 21. Since they have the chance to approach various sophisticated gambling activities and are easily affected by the gamblers around, some of them become problem and addicted gamblers. The year before last year, two young dealers committed suicide within a week and some of them frequently committed crimes too.

 

The youths are the cornerstones of the country. So it is the responsibility of the government to protect them from the influence of gambling. By doing so, Macau SAR government realizes the serious effects after receiving a lot of gambling taxes, she is willing to take the [responsible gambling policy] so as to pay feedback to society. The government spends quite a lot of money to the NGOs to promote anti-gambling education, to remedy the addicted gamblers and to enforce some practical measures to supervise the gambling venues. The fund also includes the research and training of the personnel concerned to help those addicted gamblers. Though the government has a lot of work to do in order to lessen the bad influence of addicted gambling, such as to raise the minimum age limit of the gamblers to enter horse-racing ground, dog-racing ground, sports gambling venues; to post various notices outside the buildings reminding the addicted gamblers and to restrict local citizens to enter those areas, her determination to take responsible gambling policy has been confirmed.

 

On the other hand, HK SAR government gets tens of billion dollars gambling taxes annually, but she does nothing concerning anti-gambling education, addicted gambling counseling services and research projects relating to addicted gambling. She only relies on HK Jockey Club's contribution amounting to 15 million dollars to do the above-mentioned jobs. It is quite ridiculous to legislate the raising of minimum age limit of the legal gamblers to 21 years old.

 

Macau SAR government has started [responsible gambling policy],how about HK SAR government? Act Now!

 

(Translated by Patrick Tse)

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