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Legislative Councilors’ Perceptions of Gambling Expansion and Responsible Gambling Practices in Hong Kong

Abstract

This study investigates the Legislative Councilors’ perceptions of gambling expansion and responsible gambling practices in Hong Kong. Employing quota sampling strategies, fourteen councilors were recruited to attend a 30-minute semi-structured interview. The results showed that many respondents (64.3%) rejected further expansion of legalized gambling in Hong Kong. Only two interviewees explicitly supported further gambling liberalization (e.g. casino gambling or increases in horse races). While the opponents were concerned about the negative impacts associated with legalized gambling activities, the proponents emphasized the economic benefits of further gambling expansion. Factors that might have influenced the councilors’ views on gambling expansion were identified: individual gambling attitudes and past experience in gambling participation, knowledge about excessive gambling, and views on individual versus social responsibility for gambling problems. Few interviewees considered that gamblers were solely responsible for their actions, difficulties and for their problem-solving endeavors. Most agreed that both the government and gambling operators have a very important role to play in addressing problem gambling, and would like to urge these key stakeholders to minimize gambling-related harms through improving responsible gambling practices. The study results have implications for gambling legislation, policy, and research.

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Correspondence to Irene Lai Kuen Wong.

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Key words

  • Harm Minimization
  • Problem Gambling
  • Responsible Gambling