The government has released a consultation paper
'Public Consultation on Gambling Review'. One of the hot issues
concerns about whether to legalize soccer betting in Hong Kong.
We strongly oppose legalizing soccer betting in
Hong Kong in any forms.
The nature of soccer is a healthy sport. Playing
soccer not only helps the players to enjoy a healthy life and
a strong physical build up, it also facilitates the participants
to learn and enjoy teamwork. In addition, it can also be a leisure
activity enhancing family relationships. Thus, the government
should put more resources in developing the sport, to build
more football grounds, and to promote the healthy nature of
soccer, instead of promoting this healthy sport as a gambling
If soccer betting is legalized, it will convey
a wrong message that gambling, in particular soccer betting,
is a common, reasonable, and 'healthy' activity. This wrong
message will in particular have a negative impact on children
and youths. Such a policy of 'rationalization' of unreasonable
conducts will only reinforce the already frustrating culture
of chance taking, easy-money-making, and getting without paying
among our youths. This is obviously destructive if Hong Kong
is to become a 'Manhattan', centre of advanced information and
scientific technology, and a world class tourist attraction,
because all these require a solid groundwork of research and
development. We see in no way such a 'short-cut culture' to
be beneficial to these goals.
According to our recent study on problem gambling,
it is found that problem gambling affects not only the gambler
him/herself, but also affects the spouse and other family members.
Other research also finds that children with gambling parents
have a chance of 4.5 times more likely to be gamblers themselves
when they enter adulthood. If soccer betting is legalized in
Hong Kong, the government is in fact planting a seed of "gambling
problem" into the family by which can be passed on generation
We urge the government for increased support on
sports activities (including soccer), and to provide further
resources for schools to educate students with a proper and
healthy attitude towards soccer playing. Services for problem
gamblers, further research in this area, and the organization
of community education programs regarding public awareness on
the ill effects of gambling is greatly needed.