Gambling has been legal in Macau for more then 150 years, but in the last decade it has expanded its gambling industry, increasing the number of gambling licences from one to six. This growth is set to earn the former Portuguese colony five times more than Las Vegas this year.
It is the only place in the whole of China where it is legal to gamble in a casino, welcoming the majority of its guests from the mainland, with an estimated 10 million entering through its border this year alone.
Seiko Lee who runs the SKH Gambling Counselling and Family Wellness Centre, which was set up last year to offer help and support to people with betting problems has said that some individuals such as young people working in the casinos are particularly vulnerable to gambling when they see just how much money can be won.
One young gambler, who wanted to remain anonymous, admitted to visiting casinos almost every day, betting away more than half of his wages at the height of his problem.
He said, “When I was not at the casino I used to do sports betting on the internet from home.”
Seiko Lee revealed they had even taken a call at their counselling centre from a secondary school that had uncovered a well-established gambling ring and wanted help.
With China’s continuing growth, Macau will be supplied with even more keen gamblers who are willing to spend their money. As gaming revenue makes up nearly half of the regions income and provides jobs in casinos for one in five workers, this is something Macau cannot afford to welcome with open arms.
View the original BBC News article here.