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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

SBS Insight: 'Betting on Asia'

'Insight' on SBS keeps coming up with incredibly informative episodes, uncovering topics and worlds not often discussed.

This week, the program puts the spotlight on gamblers of Asian descent. Interestingly, in a public pitch earlier this year, billionaire businessman James Packer said middle class gamblers visiting from China could help reverse the fortunes of Australia’s struggling tourism industry. 

Gambling addiction expert and psychiatrist Dr Timothy Fong says gambling is entrenched in Chinese culture, partly driven by a belief in luck and predetermined fate. Meanwhile, Australian-Chinese businessmen say trips to the casino are a crucial part of doing business and connecting with clients. But it’s not just the well-off who are gambling in Australia’s casinos.

One study shows that Chinese international students studying in Australia are particularly at risk of gambling problems. They arrive here with huge amounts of money for their education and accommodation, and thanks to loneliness and isolation are attracted to the perceived 'glamour' of casinos - sometimes with disastrous outcomes.

Dr Fong says the cultural taboo around problem gambling prevents people from seeking help, revealing that many addicts want to save face and are too ashamed to admit they have a problem.

In this clip, Thang Ngo - an active part of the Vietnamese community of Fairfield in Sydney's western suburbs - says that people from his local community are drawn into the 'high roller' rooms of casinos just as much as rich overseas tourists.



He's right: I live in the area and see the mini bus filled with passengers en route to the casino [for years now it has had blacked out windows, though].

In this web extra from 'Insight' you can see the route it takes in metro Sydney. There's also an extended interview with Jeff Kennett:

http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/webextra/497/Betting-on-Asia

Here is an overview, with guests bios: http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/overview/497/Betting-on-Asia

And you can watch the entire episode online here:

http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/watchonline/497/Betting-on-Asia

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