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Macao’s casino staff struggle to curb problem gambling in clients, says study 

While workers can identify problematic behaviour, fear of offending clients stops them from intervening when they see it, researchers have found.

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PUBLISHED

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Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 21 May 2024, 8:03 am

Researchers at Macao Polytechnic University’s Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies have found that casino staff “rarely proactively intervene in problem gambling behaviour,” Asia Gaming Brief reports.

Their study said that while “most frontline casino employees understand responsible gambling clearly” and can identify problematic behaviour, they tended to stop short of actually stepping in to halt it.

Reasons for their lack of intervention included fear of offending clients or getting themselves into trouble, role ambiguity and a lack of support, according to the study.

[See more: RFID tables will soon be standard at casinos in Macao: report]

The study also indicated that many casino employees believed that Macao’s responsible gaming policies only applied to local residents – not visitors, who make up the bulk of gamblers at the city’s casinos, Asia Gaming Brief reports.

The study’s authors, Manian Wongkun and Liu Shuang, identified mainland Chinese as “the main group of problem gamblers.” They also noted that campaigns promoting responsible gambling in Macao tended to target locals, meaning visitors may have had fewer chances to “receive relevant information effectively.”

They suggested that Macao could learn from countries like Australia and New Zealand, where strict laws required casino staff to undergo training in how to identify people who may be struggling with gambling difficulties or addiction and provide appropriate assistance.

[See more: Macao’s proposed gambling crimes law doesn’t go far enough, say lawyers]

The study concluded that “the problem of problem gambling has not been significantly reduced” and could, if not brought into check, “jeopardise the long-term viability of Macao’s gaming industry.”

Problem gambling, or gambling addiction, is generally defined as behaviour that damages a person’s daily life, career, or family – often through compulsively gambling away savings and accumulating debt, creating financial stress.

UPDATED: 21 May 2024, 8:03 am

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