Online Help for Problem Gambling Among Chinese Youths

  • Chang Boon Patrick Lee


The objectives of this study were to determine the perceptions and accessibility of online help for problem gambling among Chinese youths. A group of undergraduates participated in a survey cum laboratory exercise to search for help for problem gambling in Macao, Hong Kong, and China. Online search engines were used. During the search process, participants found they had to sieve through a long list of search results, many of which were links to articles rather than help organizations. The key findings of this study were: (1) online help was a popular resource but it was not perceived as the most effective form of help, (2) there were no sponsored links in the search results and it took some effort to locate the relevant help organizations, and (3) certain website features and online tools were useful to attract potential users to online help. This paper discussed the implications of the findings.


Online help Problem gambling Chinese youths 


  1. Bolande, H. A. (2001). Hong Kong faces test to revise gaming law—use of Internet betting sites grows rapidly, Asian Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2001, 4.Google Scholar
  2. Carlbring, P., Nillsson-Ihrfelt, E., Waara, J., Kollenstam, C., Burman, M., Kaldo, V., et al. (2005). Treatment of panic disorder: live therapy vs. self-help via Internet. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 43(10), 1321–1333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheung, C. (2007). Macau overtakes Las Vegas in gaming revenue, Bloomberg, January 23, 2007. Retrieved
  4. Cooper, G. (2004). Exploring and understanding online assistance for problem gamblers: the Pathway Disclosure Model. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1(2), 32–38.Google Scholar
  5. Cunningham, J. A. (2005). Little use of treatment among problem gamblers. Psychiatric Services, 56, 1024–1026.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Devereux, E. C. (1979). Gambling. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Dickerson, M. G., McMillen, J., Hallebone, E., Volberg, R., & Woolley, R. (1997). Definition and incidence of problem gambling, including the socio-economic distribution of problem gamblers. Melbourne: Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority.Google Scholar
  8. Emier, D. (2010). China’s secret gambling problem, The Telegraph, 9 Jan 2010, retrieved from
  9. George, S., & Murali, V. (2005). Pathological gambling: an overview of assessment and treatment. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11, 450–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Griffiths, M. (2001). Why Don’t Adolescent Problem Gamblers Seek Treatment? eGambling: The Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues, 5. Retrieved from
  11. Griffiths, M., & Cooper, G. (2003). Online therapy: implications for problem gamblers and clinicians. British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 31(1), 113–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jacobs, D. F., Marston, A. R., Singer, R. D., Widaman, K., Little, T., & Veizades, J. (1989). Children of problem gamblers. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 5(4), 261–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Khazaal, Y., Chatton, A., Cochand, S., Jermann, F., Osiek, C., Bondolfi, G., et al. (2008). Quality of web-based information on pathological gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 24, 357–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lange, A., Van De Ven, J.-P., & Schrieken, B. (2003). Interapy: treatment of post post-traumatic stress via the Internet. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 32, 110–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Leung, N. (2010). Problem gambling in spotlight amid World Cup. Macau Daily Times, 10 Jun 2010. Retrieved from
  16. Raylu, N., Oei, T. P. S., & Loo, J. (2008). The current status and future direction of self-help treatments for problem gamblers. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 1372–1385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sebastian, M. (2009). How to land on the first page of a Google search. Retrieved from
  18. Steffens, M. (2008). China tries to hose down Macau’s gambling, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July 2008. Retrieved from
  19. Suurvali, H., Hodgins, D., Toneatto, T., & Cunningham, J. (2008). Treatment seeking among Ontario problem gamblers: results of a population survey. Psychiatric Services, 59(11), 1343–1346.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Suurvali, H., Cordingley, J., Hodgins, D. C., & Cunningham, J. (2009). Barriers to seeking help for gambling problems: a review of the empirical literature. Journal of Gambling Studies, 25(3), 407–424.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sylvain, C., Ladouceur, R., & Boisvert, J. (1997). Cognitive and behavioral treatment of pathological gambling: a controlled study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 727–732.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tate, D. F., Wing, R. R., & Winett, R. A. (2001). Using Internet technology to deliver a behavioral weight loss program. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 1172–1177.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wood, R. T. A., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Online guidance, advice, and support for problem gamblers and concerned relatives and friends: an evaluation of the GamAid pilot service. British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 35(4), 373–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wood, R. T. A. & Wood, S. A. (2009). An evaluation of two United Kingdom online support forums designed to help people with gambling issues. Journal of Gambling Issues, 23(1), 5–30.Google Scholar
  25. Wong, I. L. K. (2010). Internet gambling: a school-based survey among Macau students. Social Behavior and Personality, 38(3), 365–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wong, S. (2001). Asian problem gambling—a western Chinese perspective. In A. Blaszczynski (Ed.), Gambling and the Cultural Phenomenon, Proceedings of the National Association of Gambling studies Conference, Sydney, 411–416.Google Scholar
  27. Zeng, Z., & Forrest, D. (2009). High rollers from Mainland China: a profile based on 99 Cases. UNLV Gaming Research and Review Journal, 13(1), 29–43.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business AdministrationUniversity of MacauTaipaMacau

Personalised recommendations