25pc of young soccer gamblers owe HK$200,000, group says

Local | 19 Jun 2017 5:02 pm

An anti-gambling group has sounded the alarm about a rising trend in the number of youngsters gambling on soccer. They have recorded an increasing number of calls for help. 

The Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counselling Centre interviewed 310 gamblers aged below 25, and found that 90 percent of them started betting before the age of 20. 

More than two thirds of the respondents reported suffering emotional problems because of their debts, while almost 15 percent of them said they had even thought about taking their own lives. 

Over a quarter of them had accumulated debts of between HK$100,000 and HK$200,000, while around 4 percent owe more than HK$600,000. 

The study also said young people are ending up in debt traps within five years of starting gambling, compared with the 10 to 15-year time periods recorded in earlier studies. 

The center’s senior social worker, Joe Tang, said many youngsters have a misconception that they can easily win in soccer betting. He also blamed peer pressure as a main cause for an increase in young gamblers. 

"If their friends are involved in gambling, they would go gambling with them too. Another reason is that because they would think soccer betting is too easy to win, so they would think that it is very easy to get the money from soccer betting”, he said. 

Tang called on the government to raise the legal gambling age from 18 to 21, to help deter youth gambling. He told RTHK's Maggie Suen that increasing the minimum age by three years could make a substantial difference. -RTHK

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