Covid-19 may have cut number of gambling addicts: Social Welfare Bureau Link copied
Cases down from 77 to 52 this year, mostly aged 35 to 49 with children and in desperate need of financial help to clear their debts.
Macao has had to deal with fewer compulsive gamblers this year – possibly thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The chief of the Social Welfare Bureau’s (IAS) Drug Addiction and Rehabilitation Department, Richard Cheang Io Tat, said that in the first three quarters of this year his department handled 52 gambling disorder cases, compared to 77 cases year-on-year.
Cheang was speaking during an event staged by the bureau about gambling disorders in Macao, entitled “Lost Control, Lose Family”, at the Macao Science Center in NAPE.
He said the reason for the decrease could be due to the Covid-19 pandemic as fewer non-locals sought help from the bureau. He also noted that out of the 52 cases, 80 per cent were local residents, mostly people who have children and are aged between 35 and 49.
He also pointed out that 27 per cent work in the gaming industry, and most of them are in debt looking for assistance from the bureau in solving their financial situation.
Cheang said that the bureau has increased publicity to educate the public about gambling disorders and strengthened its links with family support associations, which both make it more likely to detect gambling disorder cases.
IAS Vice President Tang Yuk Wa noted that this year the bureau launched a “responsible gaming standard” that measures and manages the level of engagement that community associations for responsible gaming ought to adhere to. He pointed out that there are currently 12 associations that meet the “responsible gaming standard”, pointing out that next year the standard will be extended to the non-community-service sector, The Macau Post Daily reported.