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How the pandemic altered gambling behaviour among mainland Chinese

Recently published research into Covid-19’s impact on gamblers found that many of them, unable to access Macao’s casinos, turned to online betting platforms
  • As a result, the Macao Polytechnic University study’s authors argue new public health measures are needed to combat problematic online gambling





A new study has revealed how Covid-19 changed the habits of mainland Chinese gamblers during three years of restricted movement, shifting them to online betting to the extent that a suite of “targeted public health strategies” is warranted.

Researchers from the Macao Polytechnic University’s Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies surveyed 334 active gamblers from the mainland – Macao’s biggest tourism market – aiming to uncover the “intricate consequences of the pandemic” on this population.

They found that more than 52 percent of respondents turned to online betting platforms during the period when strict public health measures imposed at mainland-Macao checkpoints made travelling to the SAR’s casinos more difficult. People under 36 were more inclined to pivot towards online options than older gamblers.

[See more: Macao’s casino staff struggle to curb problem gambling in clients, says study]

The surge in online gambling indicated “a noteworthy adaptability of gamblers to changing circumstances” according to the study’s abstract.

“These findings emphasise the dynamic nature of gambling habits during global public health emergencies, revealing the resilient and evolving preferences of mainland Chinese gamblers in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic.”

However, the study’s authors, lead by associate professor Dr Jinquan Zhou, concluded that the pandemic contributed to a “critical need” for proactive public health measures designed to combat problem gambling outside of casinos.

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