Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 441–454 | Cite as

Mahjong Gambling in the Chinese-Australian Community in Sydney: A Prevalence Study

  • Wu Yi Zheng
  • Michael Walker
  • Alex Blaszczynski
Original Paper


Mahjong is a popular gambling game played in Chinese communities all over the world (Papineau, China Perspect 28:29–42, 2000) and is sometimes referred to as ‘国赌’ (guodu, the Chinese national gambling game) or ‘修长城’ (xiu changcheng, repairing the Great Wall). Exploratory studies using snowball sampling conducted by Zheng et al. (J Psychol Chin Soc 9(2):241–262, 2008) indicated that Mahjong is not only a popular pastime within the Sydney Chinese community but also problematic for around 3% of players. The current study aimed to extend earlier studies by estimating the prevalence of Mahjong problem gambling in a random sample of Sydney Chinese community members. In addition, due to first-hand gambling experience of the first author with superstitious Mahjong players, the study also investigated the role of superstitious beliefs in Mahjong gambling. The current study involved a series of self-report questionnaires administered to 469 randomly selected Chinese Australians in Sydney. The problem gambling rate, assessed by the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI), was 3.8%, with Chinese males and older Chinese prominent. Superstitious beliefs were found to play a part in the maintenance of Mahjong gambling behaviour. Information stemming from the current study has helped gain insight into culturally specific forms of gambling, and to identify correlates of problem gamblers. Funding bodies and counselling services should be aware of the existence of this form of gambling, and should devise appropriate treatment plans for Mahjong problem gamblers.


Mahjong Chinese problem gambling Superstitious beliefs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wu Yi Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Walker
    • 2
  • Alex Blaszczynski
    • 2
  1. 1.CampsieAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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