This survey investigated gambling behavior among Chinese students studying in Macau colleges and universities. It also aimed to examine the relationship between problem gambling, affect states and sensation seeking propensity.
A convenience sample of 999 students (370 men, 629 women) filled a self-administered questionnaire consisted of the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) (Ferris and Wynne in The Canadian problem gambling index: User manual. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Toronto 2001a), the 8-item Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS-8) (Hoyle et al. Pers Individ Diff 32(3): 401–414, 2002), Bradburn’s Affect Balance Scale (BABS) (Bradburn in The structure of psychological well-being. Aldine, Chicago 1969) and questions on gambling activities. The response rate is 65%. Results indicate 32.3% (n = 323) of the survey participants wagered on mahjong (61.8%), soccer matches (40.2%), Mark Six lottery (37.2%), card games (28.1%), land-based casino gambling (13.1%), slot machines (7.5%) and online casino games (2.0%). The average monthly stake was MOP $411. Seeking entertainment (18.7%), killing time (12.5%) and peer influence (11.1%) were the three main reasons for gambling. Using the PGSI, 3.6 and 5.3% of the students could be identified as moderate-risk and problem gamblers respectively. Men were significantly more vulnerable to gambling problems (X2(1) = 35.00, p < 0.01) than women. Most of the problematic gamblers (76%) made their first bet before 14 years. The PGSI scores are significantly correlated with the BSSS-8 scores (r = 0.23, p < 0.01) but not with the overall ABS scores (r = −0.06, p > 0.05). The study findings inform campus prevention programs and future research.