Special Report – The Chinese gambler

Nothing in the Mainland, nothing outside of China, everything in Macau

There is no scientific evidence to support the popular idea that Chinese people are inherently predisposed to gambling. And yet, this widespread stereotype is often seen in films, books, and even newspaper articles.

MB October 2020 Special Report | The Chinese Gambler

Still, it is impossible to deny what appears to be a greater interest in gambling among the Chinese.

Over the next few pages, the reader will find countless perspectives on the ‘Chinese gambler’ — from the myth to the player’s profile, through Mainland China’s efforts to crack down on illegal gambling and by understanding the relationship that the full-time inhabitants of Macau have with their ubiquitous casino neighbours. 

This issue is more pressing than ever; in late August, China announced the creation of a blacklist system for cross-border gambling tourist destinations, aiming to combat the rising number of Chinese outbound gamblers.

At this point, it is still unknown how this blacklist will work, but it seems clear that it will have a direct impact on many Chinese gamblers (especially the high-rollers) and an indirect effect on Macau — it was likely designed for that purpose as well.

All in all, this special report delves into a fascinating and somewhat intriguing topic by providing a diversified (and hopefully interesting) approach.

Co-ordinated by João Paulo Meneses

[email protected]

Our neighbour

The opening of new resorts and the increase in the supply of gaming tables does not seem to have been enough to entice more Hong Kong residents to come and gamble in Macau. 

Gambling in Hainan?

Will China ever allow gambling outside of Macau? The answer seems obvious, but the truth is that, until the beginning of the last decade, those responsible for the Hainan Province had nurtured the dream of getting an exception. 

Fighting the “opium of the 21st century”

Diplomacy, education and law enforcement are key tools employed by mainland Chinese authorities to crackdown on illegal gambling, particularly online gambling, labelled by a mainland Government spokesperson as “a most dangerous tumour in modern society detested by people all across the world” 

Ashamed or only cautious?

Common sense says that the main reason for Chinese tourists to come to Macau is to gamble. But numerous academic studies show the opposite. Is playing at casinos less and less important?  

Living between the casino and the school 

Studies show that Macau residents now go to casinos less than they did before 2004. What they really want is to buy Mark Six lottery tickets. 

GD (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety)

Macau residents may not be very interested in casinos, but that does not prevent pathological gambling from being a pressing issue  

Las Vegas. 拉斯韋加斯

The Chinese New Year weekend already rivals the Superbowl in Las Vegas. The Strip is increasingly Chinese … 

Secrecy is the name of the game

The better we know the customer, the better the service can be provided. But getting to know the Chinese gambler is not easy. We examine some of the things that are known. 

The myth of the Chinese gambler

There does not seem to be a scientific consensus on a special ethnic Chinese appetite for gambling. Some factors, such as superstition, may explain a greater interest, but there are those who warn against simplistic generalizations.

… and it all started in China

3000 years before Macau was the gambling capital of the world, Keno was born in China.