Mahjong losing appeal, sports betting gaining ground in HK: Ipsos

An Ipsos Media Atlas Survey highlights changing gambling and alcohol-consumption patterns in Hong Kong.

Mahjong losing appeal, sports betting gaining ground in HK: Ipsos

Fewer Hong Kongers are playing mahjong, while more women from the territory are indulging in alcohol as well as betting on football and horse racing, compared to five years ago.

The findings come from the Ipsos Media Atlas Survey, which has sampled around 5,000 Hong Kongers aged between 12 and 64 yearly since 2006.

The company said the decline in interest in mahjong In the most recent survey, carried out in March and April last year, is without precendent and of similar proportions across all age categories.

The eldest age segment (55 to 64) played the most mahjong, with 9% saying that they played weekly, compared to 2% in the 18 to 24 segment. The figures were 15% and 8%, respectively, in 2012. A report from South China Morning Post last year said mahjong is a sunset industry, with only 70 mahjong parlours left in the city at the time of publication, in contrast to 144 in 1956.

The study also notes a shift in betting patterns among the sexes. Fewer men said they participated in football and horse racing betting, while the number of women who engaged in these activities doubled or more over the five-year window. The research company underlined, however, that the actual number of women betting on football remains fairly low.

Meanwhile, the number of respondents who gambled at casinos in nearby Macau has been less consistent. The study notes a “massive increase" in the percentage of both men and women who said they gambled in Macau at least once in the past 12 months, from 8% in Q4 2015 to 20% in Q1 2017. However, Ipsos noted a small decline in the number of Hong Kongers gambling in Macau casinos in Q2 2017, compared to Q1 2017.

Over the last five years, weekly and monthly alcohol consumption decreased 11% and 12%, respectively, across all age groups. Yet the fairer sex are consuming more alcohol, with the percentage reporting weekly consumption rising from 6% in 2012 to 14% in 2017.

The study further breaks down the categories of alcohol consumed. Women are on par in almost all categories except beer. For instance, women drink as much wine and other stronger spirits, such as brandy and whisky. Nine percent of women drink brandy at least once a month, compared to 8.5% for men; 10% of both male and female respondents said they drink whisky.


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