Gaming employees at high risk of gambling disorders

From January to September 2017, over 30 percent of the people who sought help from the Social Affairs Bureau (IAS) due to a gaming disorder were employees in the casino sector, according to IAS deputy director Hoi Wa Pou.

In the first three quarters of last year, the IAS received requests for assistance from 119 individuals. 

The high proportion of gaming employees among the total number of cases reflects that gaming employees are at a higher risk of developing a gambling disorder.

According to Hoi, the IAS in recent years has offered the executives of gaming operators certification courses on responsible gaming instructors. Approximately 30 people have completed the training.

Hoi believes that if these instructors organize activities regarding the prevention of gambling disorders within their companies, then there will be a lower incidence of gaming employees becoming addicted to gambling.

Hoi also noted that the IAS supports the banning of gambling employees from entering the casinos while off-duty.

Late last year, Professor Bo J. Bernhard, executive director of the UNLV International Gaming Institute, told the Times that the incidence of problem gambling is connected to exposure to gaming, both in terms of length of time and frequency.

“There is definitely research that suggests that casino employees have slightly higher rates of problem gambling,” said Bernhard. “But it is worth mentioning that typically for the overall population [the rate] is 0.9 percent and for casino employees it might be 1.5 percent. So it is an elevated risk, but that doesn’t mean a crisis.”

Macau lawmaker and gaming scholar Davis Fong has also argued on several occasions that exposure to gaming heightens the risk of developing an addiction.

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