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  • Article
  • Open Access

Gambling Behavior Among Underage Adolescents in Hong Kong

Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health20141:BF03342118

  • Published:


This study examined the prevalence of gambling involvement and pathological gambling among students aged 12 to 17 years in Hong Kong, and investigated the correlates of problem gambling. The DSM-IV-MR-J was administered to 1,121 students. The response rate was 89.3%. Sixty percent of the participants gambled in the previous year, 69% were infrequent players who bet less than 4 times a month, and 4.8% gambled at least once a day. Most (89.8%) wagered less than HK$100 a week, only 3.1% staked over HK$500, and 24% borrowed money to finance their gambling activities. The majority (78.6%) had started gambling before the age of 15 years. One-fifth (21.5%) transferred gambling payments at the betting venues, 44.7% were assisted by their parents and 19.7% were helped by peers. Using the DSM-IV criteria, 3.4% and 1.8% of the participants could be classified as pathological and problem gamblers, respectively. Significant gender (χ 2(1)=8.3, p < 0.01) and age differences (χ 2(7)=21, p < 0.01) were noted for such gambling addiction. Pathological and problem gambling were significantly correlated with age (r= 0.44, p < 0.01), gambling frequency (r= 0.41, p < 0.001), gender (r= 0.33, p < 0.01), early initiation (r= −0.31, p < 0.05), psychiatric disturbances (r= 0.25, p < 0.001), as well as parents (r= 0.21, p < 0.01) and peers (r= 0.18, p < 0.05) having gambling problems. The findings have implications for preventive initiatives.

Key words

  • Adolescents
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Correlates
  • Prevention
  • School Survey