Gambling In Asian Culture

Gambling In Asian Culture

Posted by: Willie Jenkins
Category: My Blog

To get gaming regulators and state legislators to recognize a hidden epidemic, social workers and community leaders are putting pressure on Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, and Cambodian populations. As co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program, Timothy Fong says, “This isn’t a particular interest group overblowing a problem.” Fong’s program is doing an Asian gambling study. “We believe this to be true,” says the researcher.

The extent to which problem gambling affects Asian populations is unknown due to the fact that Asians have not been specifically studied as a group in either national or California studies on the subject. Nevertheless, a social services agency-commissioned survey in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1999 indicated that 70% of the 1,808 people who took part in it identified gambling as the most serious issue facing their neighborhood at the time.


This success can’t be attributed solely to American gamblers. Some casinos and card rooms around Los Angeles and San Francisco say that 80 percent of their clients are Asians, despite the lack of statistics on their contribution to the state’s gambling pot. According to Wendy Waldorf, a casino spokeswoman, “Asians represent a significant market” north of San Francisco. “We provide for their needs.”


Gambling has a Long History in Culture

Chinese, in particular, are highly likely to accept gambling as a social norm at home and at social gatherings, even for the young. Chinese teenagers frequently engage in risky financial activities such as gambling with their aunts, uncles, and grandparents. As a child in Chinatown, Lee was known to bet irrationally — wagering on whether or not his teacher would give homework. In the event of a downpour, he would wager on which drop would make it to the bottom of the window before the other.


It’s not uncommon for Chinese people to be interested by the esoteric aspects of luck, fate, or randomness. During the Chinese New Year, which falls on the 29th of January this year, gambling is especially popular as the bad luck of the previous year is replaced with the good fortune of the new. In many Asian societies, numerology also plays an important role. Chinese believe the number 8 to be exceedingly lucky, while the number 4 sounds like the word for death and should be avoided when pronounced in Mandarin or Cantonese, respectively.


Other Asian cultures, such as the Vietnamese, the Koreans, and the Filipinos, maintain similar attitudes despite the Chinese having the most governmental influence or the greatest amount of Chinese immigrants. Recent Asian immigrants, according to experts — risk-takers eager to leave the familiarity of their homelands — develop more aggressive gambling methods in judi online Malaysia than their native-born American counterparts, they believe.


Because of their lack of education and language abilities, some people choose to gamble in casinos, where waiters lavish them with free beverages and cigarettes. Tina Shum, a social worker in San Francisco’s Chinatown, stated, “They’re treated like honoured guests even though they work dead-end, minimum-wage jobs.” “That’s what they’ve been wishing for all this time.” Some gamblers go so far as to participate in “attack” gambling, where they bet money they can’t afford to lose in a desperate bid for the American dream. Immigrants typically face discrimination, according to Shum. “Neon lights blind many people.”

Willie Jenkins