UM marks decade of responsible gambling campaign with symposium

ISCG director and lawmaker Davis Fong

The University of Macau (UM) Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming (ISCG) yesterday held the Responsible Gambling Symposium 2018, marking the start of the 10th anniversary of the city’s push for responsible gaming.

The symposium was divided into two parts. The various keynote topics included a summary of and an outlook for local responsible gambling policies, as well as an exploration of new trends in gambling activities. In addition, a number of discussion sessions were held for experts and scholars from Macau and neighboring Asian countries and regions to exchange ideas on the planning, practice, and future development of responsible gambling.

The event attracted experts and scholars from the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. During the event, participants reviewed current policies and put forward new strategies for preventing gambling disorder in Macau and other parts of Asia.

Lawmaker and ISCG director Davis Fong said at the event that when the government decided to end the monopoly in the gaming industry in 2002, the general public thought that the city was immune to gambling addiction.

As part of the academic circle, Fong felt obliged to figure out whether it was true and conducted a survey in 2003. According to Fong, it was found in the survey that approximately 1.78 percent of the local population became pathological gamblers because of gambling activities. Based on this result, the Macau SAR government launched various measures to combat the prevalence of the addiction.

According to UM Rector Yonghua Song, surveys on the gambling tendencies and behavior of Macau residents show that the prevalence of gambling disorders has gradually declined from its peak at 6 percent in 2007 to 2.5 percent in 2016. The proportion of Macau residents who are concerned with responsible gambling has also increased from 16.2 percent in 2009 to 63.7 percent in 2017.

The first series of activities comprising the Responsible Gambling Awareness Week in Macau was co-organized in 2009 by the Social Welfare Bureau, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, and the ISCG. This marks the 10th year in the push for responsible gaming.

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