Posted May 30, 2014 by John Baintree in News

Asia’s obsession with gambling


It seems to be a widely accepted fact that the Chinese have a passion for gambling that is rarely, if ever, topped by any other nation. Tak a look back through history and it becomes clear that this national passion is no recent obsession. Gambling can be traced back almost 4,000 years and has been recorded consistently through every ruling dynasty’s records since.

In modern times around the turn of the twentieth century, Shanghai was a hub for gambling activity and gamblers across the entire Asian region. In the international concessions, local games were supplemented by imported games such as roulette. At the same time, the Portuguese government in Maccoiu were busy relaxing gambling laws and gaming was legalised as early as the 1840s. With the overthrow of Imperial China, gambling was made illegal by the communist authorities leaving Maccau as the only gambling outpost across Asia.

Today gambling is more tolerated with state lotteries making appearances in many territories such as Hong Kong, Maccau, Taiwan and even conservative Singapore. Horse racing is another sport popular with gamblers and can be found in Hong Kong, Macau and again Singapore. Locations such as these all lead to a massive trade of gamblers from mainland China who can now afford to travel and indulge their passion offshore.

Maccau, determined as a Special Administrative Region by the authorities is now developing as an international gambling destination and is now frequently listed as the world’s top gambling destination.

Chinese gamblers are unique amongst others in thew world. Superstition is a very strong belief within Chinese culture. Studies have often shown how Chinese gamblers fail to understand the logic behind gambling. They firmly believe they can affect the outcome of games such as blackjack, baccarat, national lottery or sic bo. This is possibly linked to the major religions in the area, Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism where an individual’s behaviours are directly believed to affect their future. Traditional focus on the role that individual items have on luck, especially through beliefs such as feng shui and the study of numbers strongly influences the Chinese belief that gambling outcomes can be routinely influenced.