The pandemic has given some gamblers a chance to reexamine their addiction, a survey by a local organization has discovered.
Christian organization Sheng Kung Hui conducted an online survey involving 120 respondents. It found that the current requirement of providing a negative nucleic acid test result upon entering Macau casinos has offered regular gamblers an opportunity to excuse themselves from their addiction.
These gamblers, the organization pointed out, usually gambled several times per month, spending between several hundred and several thousand patacas each time. They are known as “social gamblers,” the Sheng Kung Hui said.
Not all gamblers in Macau are reacting the same. When the casinos were shut for 15 days in February, compulsive gamblers showed withdrawal symptoms and developed a stronger desire to gamble.
More seriously, the association pointed out that some problematic gamblers have developed the desire to meet “higher targets.” This means that they wanted to wager more when casinos were allowed to reopen.
In the first half of the year, the problematic gambling prevention and response team at Sheng Kung Hui handled 247 counseling cases, a similar number to the first half of 2019.
Over the last two years, the organization has received 4,000 help-seeking inquiries each year through its counter-problematic gambling hotline. About one-third of the callers are aged between 25 and 30.