A warning about Hong Kong students’ gambling habits has been sounded by a counseling service

A warning about Hong Kong students' gambling habits has been sounded by a counseling service

The survey finding that more than 40 per cent of post-secondary students in Hong Kong have gambled has sparked a warning for younger generations to avoid the digital loan debt trap.

Gambling Counseling Service i-Change, which was set up to provide support to problem gamblers, spoke out Saturday after a survey it conducted found 41 percent of students surveyed had taken part in at least one type of traditional gambling in the first quarter of this year. year.

The Mark Six lottery was the most popular, with 63.5 percent of participants, followed by mahjong at 38 percent, and horse racing and football betting at 33 percent.

The i-Change project, run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service of Hong Kong, also found 13 per cent said they had placed a bet on casino and 7 percent had played the card game baccarat.
Dr Paul Wong, from the University of Hong Kong, warned that young people who like to gamble could face psychological problems and develop suicidal behavior. Photo: Leaflet

Terence Mok Wai-ho, a social worker at the i-Change project, said the findings should serve as a warning and called on the government to devote more resources to education about the potential dangers of gambling among young people.

“The poll shows that many young people are not aware of the risks and negative effects of engaging in gambling, such as getting into debt and falling into a loan trap,” he explained.

“There should be more promotion to warn young people not to become obsessed with gambling by using counseling and other debt restructuring support.”

Mok warned the public not to fall into the loan trap and highlighted the increasing number of online loan fraudsters pretending to help gamblers restructure their loans.

“These lending agencies claim that they can help those who are in debt to restructure their loans, but in reality they trick them into entering into contracts with them, for which they charge huge administration fees,” he said. “When the debtor wants to terminate the contract, he has to pay a large amount of money.”

The World Cup crackdown on gambling in Hong Kong’s prisons is producing good results

About half of those surveyed said they had made bets online and about a third spent less than HK$500 (US$63).

Yet another 11 percent spent between HK$501 and HK$2,000, while 5 percent spent between HK$2,001 and HK$5,000. 3 percent placed bets of more than HK$5,000.

Associate Professor Paul Wong Wai-ching, from the social work and social administration department at Hong Kong Universitysays many young people turn to gambling for fun or money, due to peer pressure or to deal with stress.

He warned that gambling addiction can have serious consequences such as psychological disorders and even suicidal behavior.

“Gamblers may not seek help, and if they do, it may be too late,” warns Wong.

Hong Kong police arrested 17 people in a raid on an illegal gambling and laundering syndicate

A survey of 601 post-secondary students between the ages of 19 and 25 was conducted in April.

62 percent said entertainment was the main reason they gambled, followed by 43 percent citing idle time, while 32 percent said entertainment was fun and 30 percent cited the lure of quick cash.

Most students, 95 percent, admit that the lure of winning big is the main attraction and 80 percent believe that there is a way to win at gambling.

About 40 percent of them said they had never heard anything about gambling counselling.

John, (right) admits his gambling problem caused a debt spiral and he fell prey to unscrupulous online money lenders. Photo: Cannix Yau

John* says he is over HK$300,000 in debt by 2021 after he became obsessed with online gambling.

“At first I thought it was very easy to win money, but then I kept losing money. I started borrowing online loans and I didn’t realize that I had taken out a large loan,” he said.

He admits that he then turned to online agents to help manage his mountain of debt without knowing it was a trap.

“The agent did nothing to restructure my loan and when I wanted to quit, he said I had to pay HK$24,000 to end my contract,” said John.

But John says he eventually joined i-Change and, with his help, he filed for bankruptcy and kicked his gambling addiction.

Proposals to raise gambling taxes in Hong Kong should be considered, said the minister

Ng Shuk-ping, senior social work supervisor at Caritas Gambling Addiction Counseling Center, agrees that more and more young people are taking part in gambling, especially illegal online betting on sports such as basketball, as well as esports.

He attributes this increase in part to the coronavirus pandemic, when illegal online gambling platforms have sprung up and attracted young people with easy access and a wider variety of betting activities while they are cooped up at home.

Ng added that online gambling also makes it difficult for parents and teachers to recognize it because children can easily access services via smartphones.

“Gambling is on the rise among young people. Gamblers are getting younger and younger,” he said.

Hong Kong’s ICAC arrested 23 people as part of a soccer match-fixing investigation

He said there should be better education for primary and secondary school students to teach them about money management and prevent them from becoming addicted to gambling.

Wong urged young people to take responsibility and control themselves against the urge to gamble.

He also called for better early prevention services and increased law enforcement efforts to crack down on illegal online gambling platforms.

*Name changed at the request of the interviewee

#warning #Hong #Kong #students #gambling #habits #sounded #counseling #service

Fitness Trainer Lindsey Gordon Shows Off Her Chiseled Abs In A Bikini

Fitness Trainer Lindsey Gordon Shows Off Abs In Her White Bikini

Is lazy 'girls dinner' safe?  Experts weigh in on 'problem' food trends

Is lazy ‘girls dinner’ safe? Experts weigh in on ‘problem’ food trends