Report of study on Hong Kong people's participation in gambling activities released
A report on a study commissioned by the Ping Wo Fund on Hong Kong people's participation in gambling activities (the Study) was released today (April 5). Findings of the Study show that the participation rate of gambling activities and the prevalence of gambling disorder among Hong Kong people are on the decline.
According to data and information collected in 2016, the rate of Hong Kong people's participation in gambling activities (i.e. people who have participated in gambling activities in the past year) was 61.5 per cent, which was lower than 62.3 per cent in 2012 and had significantly decreased from 77.8 per cent in 2001. The participation rate of secondary school students also fell from 33.5 per cent in 2012 to 21.8 per cent in 2016, representing a substantial decrease from 54.0 per cent in 2001.
The rate of potential gambling disorder (previously referred to as problem or pathological gambling) among Hong Kong people also dropped from 2 per cent in 2012 to 1.4 per cent in 2016. The prevalence rate of secondary school students was 0.7 per cent, and as a reference the rate of potential problem or pathological gambling among secondary school students in 2012 was 3.2 per cent.
The most popular gambling activities among respondents were the Mark Six Lottery and social gambling (such as mahjong and poker), while secondary school students mainly participated in social gambling. The Study shows that participating in the Mark Six Lottery and social gambling is not a predictor of gambling disorder. It would not be more likely for gamblers to have gambling disorder by solely participating in the Mark Six Lottery or social gambling.
On horse race betting, 12.5 per cent of telephone survey respondents among the general public indicated that they had participated in horse race betting in the past year. The participation rate was slightly lower than that of 12.9 per cent in 2012, and was considerably lower than the rate of 30.4 per cent in 2001. The participation rate of secondary school students also showed a remarkable decrease from 9.2 per cent in 2001 to 3.5 per cent in 2012 and 0.7 per cent in 2016.
As for football betting, 6.6 per cent of telephone survey respondents among the general public indicated that they had participated in football betting in the past year. The rate was similar to that in 2012, but much lower than the rate of 16.3 per cent in 2005. The participation rate of secondary school students significantly decreased from 4.7 per cent in 2012 to 1.2 per cent in 2016. The rate was much lower than that of 6.8 per cent in 2005.
Regarding online gambling, the participation rate of secondary school students was 1 per cent, which was lower than the rate of 1.2 per cent in 2012 and 4.6 per cent in 2001.
To understand better the gambling behaviour of young people, the current Study specifically collected questionnaires from other students and working youths aged 15 to 22 recruited through non-government organisations (NGOs) and tertiary institutions using the purposive sampling method. According to data collected from such non-random sampling, the participation rate of gambling activities of these young respondents was 45.6 per cent, and the rate of possible gambling disorder was 3 per cent. The participation rates of horse race betting, football betting and online gambling were 6.4 per cent, 9.8 per cent and 2.0 per cent respectively. As the data was not collected through random sampling, the result could only provide a general reference and could not represent a general picture of the gambling situation among young people aged 15 to 22.
The spokesman of the Ping Wo Fund Advisory Committee said, "The Committee is pleased to see that the prevalence rates of gambling and possible gambling disorder among Hong Kong people have decreased continuously. The Study considered that publicity and education efforts as well as other alleviating measures implemented by the Government and the Ping Wo Fund might have contributed to such a decreasing trend."
He added, "The Committee has all along closely observed the prevalence of gambling activities among Hong Kong people, and has accordingly developed appropriate public education and publicity programmes, so as to prevent people from becoming addicted to gambling and to alleviate the negative impact arising from gambling addiction."
The Study suggested that the Government and the Committee should continue the prevailing alleviating measures and related policy, and further enhance the work in three major areas, namely publicity and education, preventive and alleviating services, and measures to promote responsible gambling by the Hong Kong Jockey Club as the betting operator.
The spokesman said, "The results of the Study provide the Government with the latest information on the prevalence of gambling activities among Hong Kong people, which is of high value for reference. The Study report has been distributed to the Betting and Lotteries Commission, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, counselling and treatment centres, and relevant voluntary organisations for their reference. The Home Affairs Bureau and the Ping Wo Fund Advisory Committee will formulate the future work plan making reference to the recommendations of the Study. We will also request the Hong Kong Jockey Club to follow up on the result and recommendations of the Study as appropriate."
The Study report is now available on the website of the Home Affairs Bureau: www.hab.gov.hk/en/publications_and_press_releases/reports.htm.
The Study was conducted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as commissioned by the Ping Wo Fund in 2016. The gambling activities covered by the Study included horse race betting, football betting, the Mark Six Lottery, social gambling (such as mahjong and poker), cross-border casinos and online gambling. The Study was conducted through a telephone survey, a self-administered questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and individual interviews. The telephone survey had the participation of people aged 15 to 64 who were selected by random sampling. For the self-administered questionnaire surveys, questionnaires were received from Form 4 and Form 5 secondary school students recruited through random sampling, and from other students and working youths aged 15 to 22 recruited through NGOs and tertiary institutions using the purposive (non-random) sampling method.
To finance preventive and remedial measures for problems caused by gambling, the Government established the Ping Wo Fund in 2003. The Fund provides sponsorship for research and studies into the issues and problems relating to gambling; publicity and public education measures to prevent and alleviate problems relating to gambling; and counselling, treatment and other support services for gamblers with gambling disorder and those affected by them.
Ends/Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:30
Issued at HKT 19:30