A total of 77 gambling addicts were added to the Social Welfare Bureau’s (IAS) central registration system last year, a 30 per cent decrease compared to 2019’s 110 people, IAS Prevention and Treatment of Problem Gambling and Drug Dependence Department Chief Cheang Io Tat told reporters on Wednesday.
Cheang made the remarks on the sidelines of the launch ceremony for “Bosco Youth Service Network Go Go Goal” on the Ilha Verde campus of the University of Saint Joseph (USJ).
According to Cheang, 77 people, most of them aged between 30 and 39, asked the bureau for assistance in tackling gambling problems. He said that the decrease could be due to fewer people revealing their gambling addiction during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
Cheang pointed out that it is easier for young people to become addicted to gambling than older people, and therefore the bureau is working hard to reach out to youths that are in need to help them with “hidden” addiction problems.
According to an IAS statement, youths are easily addicted to drugs or gambling because brain development allows them to be more adventure-seeking. The statement said that the bureau has collaborated with the Bosco Youth Service in setting up an app that challenges youths to complete specific tasks during the day which include exercising, community services, volunteer work, and further study.
The app requires youths to register and keep track of their activities. The statement added that once young people have accomplished a task, they can earn points in exchange for prizes. The aim is to gradually help youths to build a healthier lifestyle and keep them away from any forms of addiction.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by The Macau Post Daily/Prisca Tang