Asian Children Face Higher Risk of Gambling Addiction

Anne-Marie Bullock, BBC News, February 20, 2012

British Asian children who gamble are twice as likely to become addicted as white children, new research suggests.

Nine thousand 11-15 year olds were surveyed by the University of Salford and National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).

Of the ethnic groups studied, Asians were the least likely to gamble, but those who did had the highest rates of problem addiction.

Children with the highest pocket money were more likely to become addicted.

Researchers found that only 13% of British Asian children questioned were found to be regular gamblers, compared to 20% overall.

But Asians were proportionately at greatest risk of developing addictive and problem behaviour, such as lying to friends and family or using money meant for other things.

Slot machines and betting with friends on cards were the most popular methods of gambling.

Although some games and arcades are for over 18s only, low payout slot machines are legal at any age.

“I’ve been going to the arcades for 2 years,” said Imran, aged 12 who uses 10p slot machines. “Mostly nothing comes out, but it’s very addictive so we just keep coming back and spend most of our money.”

Kasim, aged 15, said that placing a wager with friends makes computer games more fun.

“What draws me to gambling is the feeling you get when you win money which is different from when you’re normally playing. It adds tension to the game.”

While a small bet or the odd trip to the arcade does not make them addicts, researchers warn that secrecy could be a factor in the higher risk of addiction.

“In the Asian community there is strong social disapproval of gambling in general,” said Prof David Forrest, who led the research. “This means the minority who choose to gamble are already overcoming a barrier—already suffering a cost in terms of social disapproval.”

“So probably a lot of Asians who gamble are people drawn to risk-taking whereas among whites many players are not candidates for hardened gambling because they’re playing for social reasons rather than a driver in their inner self,” he said.

Prof Forrest said that many adult problem gamblers were found to have started young—some at only eight or nine years old.

Gambling dependency

The Gordon Moody Association deals with adults who have become dependent on gambling, for whom financial pressures have impacted on family finances, or in extreme cases ended in crime or suicide attempts

Ruth Champion, who helps run rehabilitation courses for gambling addicts says that they are seeing younger problem gamblers more frequently.

“In the last 5 years we’ve seen an influx of people getting into trouble younger because gambling has become more prevalent and accessible,” said Ruth Champion, who helps run rehabilitation courses. “We’ve seen our average client age go from late thirties to early twenties.”

She blames the rise of internet gambling and fixed-odd betting terminals in bookmakers, which allow people to bet high stakes on games like virtual roulette.

Asian Network Report spoke to several young Asian men in Birmingham, aged between 18 and 19, who said that they played on roulette machines several times a week, sometimes losing hundreds of pounds at a time.

Some of the men said that they had started gambling years earlier, at the age of around 15 but were now playing regularly and playing with notes rather than loose change.

“Every other day I put in £300-400. I work in Tesco and do overtime. I get paid £700-800 and half of it goes in the machines,” said one young man, who did not want to be named.

“My family don’t know because it’s against our religion.”

Another said: “I put in £100 every couple of weeks. I’ve lost £600-£700 altogether. It eats your money. Say you put in £200, you’ve got to put another 200 in just to win that money back.”

For those who started gambling young, parents may have unknowingly fuelled the problem, said Prof Forrest.

“Nearly every one of the Asian child problem gamblers was in the top 20% of the pocket money league tables. £5-10 is typical but many were getting £20-30 per week. If the average child is given £30 rather than £10 they triple their chances of becoming a problem gambler.”



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  • MikeofAges

    In traditional Asian society gambling is  a big problem. So is drug addiction and so is the purchase  of sex. These are universals, but gambling is an especially prevalent problem. Does this make Asians uniquely malignant? Not really. But it does go the point that people are not identical. Not by individual. And not by type and race either.

  • loyalwhitebriton

    My home city has a large Ethnic minority  population (or is it Minority ethnic – apparently one of those terms is more politically correct than the other. Can’t remember which one, though). The largest percentage of that minority population is Asian – mainly muslims of Pakistani origin.
    During my 20’s I worked at the City’s only casino as a croupier. Asian taxi-drivers and take-away owners were regular punters. Comments in the staff room like “I thought muslims weren’t supposed to gamble” were common. We took their money, though. And they also drunk a lot of beer at the bar – something else muslims aren’t supposed to do. I suppose drinking and gambling are pretty universal vices. And perhaps some races and cultures are more prone to it than others.

    •  That you noticed makes you an infidel.

      • loyalwhitebriton

        That’s me. Infidel, and proud of it.

    • anonymous_amren

      Pakistan is not in Asia. Can we stop calling them Asians? It’s a PC Euphamism to avoid having to call them Muslims.

      Real Asians also have gambling problems. North East Asians still commit high rates of illegal gambling, despite low rates of other crimes. And most Vietnamese people are involved in various illegal “gambling” schemes, although some of them more resemble unlicensed credit unions, but they call it gambling.

      • loyalwhitebriton

        Pakistan is considered South Asia.

        You say Paki, I say Asian
        You say PotARto, I say PotAto
        You say TomAto, I say TomARto 

        That’s what it’s all about……

  • JohnEngelman

    There is only one category of crime for which Asians (unfortunately, this figure includes Pacific Islanders) are more likely to be arrested than whites, and that is gambling, which is deeply rooted in some Asian cultures.
    – Jared Taylor from “The Color of Crime”

  • loyalwhitebriton

    In the US, Asian = Chinese, Japs, Thai, Korean…
    In the UK, Asian = Pakistani, Indian, Bengali, Kashmiri, Sri-Lankan…
    Don’t know why, but ‘Twas ever thus..

  • anonymous_amren

    Sometimes I wonder whether (parts of) Islam actually makes some sense once you take into account genetic differences between Muslims and non-Muslims.
    The super-strict discipline, and bans on all sorts of fun seem outrageously evil to me. But they do make sense for races that lack self-control or common sense.
    Other times, I think Islam is just part of the problem, and it’s their limited intelligence that makes them keep a system that doesn’t work.

    The same with other cultural disfunctions. For example, does it make sense for black people to not get married and to divorce frequently, when you take into account the kind of person they’d be married to?

    Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge other cultures without taking into account the poor genes they have to work with. One culture can’t fit all races.

    Either way, it emphasises why they need their own countries and we need our own countries.

    • loyalwhitebriton

      I think thay you make a good point. Religion can be an expression of the culture that it’s born in, and race is a major contributing factor which shapes a culture. So, the more licentious a culture is, the stricter the corresponding prohibitions are going to be. That seems to make some sense to me, though undoubtedly some anthropologist or psychologist would have different views.