Repeat gamblers


A total of 14,000 people in Macau were suffering from severe problem gambling in 2016, the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) told local broadcaster TDM.
The results were revealed in a study commissioned to the University of Macau (UM) last year, with the number contrasting with the fewer-than 900 people the IAS is said to have assisted since 2011.
Of the people treated by the IAS, 30 per cent involved casino workers, with the total number of cases increasing by as much as 150 people per year.
According to statements made by the head of the IAS Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Division, Wu I Mui, to TDM, there is high probability of recidivism by gambling addicts, with people suffering from the addiction tending to relapse “when they come under stress”.
“Even though some patients we saw may have quit gambling for half a year, they are still receiving our counselling services. In many cases we handled, there was a high possibility that our patients returned to gambling, [although] not necessarily in a short time,” Ms. Wu told TDM.
However, the IAS representative said gambling addicts can contact the department’s online services and 24-hour hotline.
According to the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (DSM-5) from the American Psychiatric Association, gambling disorders involve persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behaviours for a period of 12 months.
Some of these behaviours involve being restless or irritable when attempting to reduce or stop gambling, gambling when feeling distressed, or making repeated unsuccessful efforts to control the addiction.