Internet gambling among high school students in Hong Kong

Abstract

The study investigated Internet gambling involvement and pathological gambling among Hong Kong adolescents aged 12–19 years. The diagnostic and statistical manual (4th edition) multiple response format for juveniles (DSM-IV-MR-J) (Fisher in J Gambl Stud 16:253–273, 2000) was filled by 1,004 students (597 boys, 407 girls) recruited by random selection of classes. The response rate was 86.6 %. Results indicate that more respondents participated in land-based gambling than Internet gambling (63.5 vs. 3.5 %) but online gamblers are 1.5 and 3.2 times more likely to develop pathological and at-risk gambling than non-Internet gamblers. Using the DSM-IV-MR-J criteria, 5.7 and 22.9 % of the Internet gamblers could be classified as at-risk gamblers and pathological gamblers, respectively. Majority (94.3 %) wagered online at home, and 91.4 % made their first bet before 18 years. Many perceived Internet gambling as a trendy (71.4 %) and safe entertainment (54.3 %). Problematic Internet gambling was significantly associated with the male gender, school grades, online gambling frequency, amount wagered and a gambling family environment. Survey results have implications for gambling research and preventive programs.

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