More Singaporeans gambling
Study also shows more Singapore residents gambling, with 4D the most popular
More Singapore residents are gambling, with those aged 18 to 29 showing the biggest jump, from 28 per cent in 2014 to 41 per cent last year.
The study by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), conducted every three years, polled 3,000 residents aged 18 and above and found that people from all age groups are gambling more.
Those who participated in at least one form of gambling rose from 44 per cent in 2014 to 52 per cent last year.
The median monthly spending went up from $20 in 2014 to $30 last year.
Younger people are more vulnerable to gambling addiction, psychologists and counsellors told The New Paper.
Ms Betty Anizah Lee, helpline counsellor at the National Problem Gambling Helpline, said more young people have been seeking help for issues such as debt management, family problems and peer pressure related to gambling.
Mr Lawrence Tan, senior registered psychologist at The Therapy Room, said the stimulating nature of gambling is more likely to affect those below 25.
"If they are exposed early to gambling, it is more likely that a problem could develop," he added.
National Addictions Management Service counsellor Naseera Banu said that in her experience, gamblers between 18 and 29 years old are mostly men who started gambling, mainly on football betting, from as young as 15.
The study also showed a slight increase in probable pathological and problem gambling rates in Singapore.
These are gamblers who display several symptoms, including lying to family members or therapists about their habits or those who allow gambling to affect their relationships, work or education.
The figure rose from 0.7 per cent in 2014 to 0.9 per cent last year - which is considered to be stable.
The estimated median spending of such gamblers, however, saw a jump from $80 in 2014 to $250 last year.
The most popular mode of gambling is still 4D, the study showed.
Gamblers are also increasingly choosing to bar themselves from the casinos. NCPG statistics show that 23,857 Singaporeans and permanent residents requested casino exclusion orders for themselves as of Dec 31, up 11 per cent from a year ago.
The largest demographic of self-excluded individuals were Chinese men aged 41 to 50.
Gambling habits different based on gender
The demographic with the highest participation in gambling are Chinese males aged 40 and above, according to statistics from the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Beyond numbers, the types of gambling preferred by men and women are also different, says experts.
"Males are more interested in what we call 'action gambling', while females tend to prefer 'escape gambling,'" said senior registered psychologist, Mr Lawrence Tan, from The Therapy Room.
Mr Joel Neo, who runs youth services at Fei Yue Community Services, said: "Males prefer gambling that has elements of adrenaline and bravado, such as sports betting, poker and horse betting.
"To them, it is a scientific thing, where they can look at odds and think that they are making a bet based on rational thought. But of course, it is actually beyond their control."
Mr Tan added: "For action gamblers, there is an element of fantasy, and such gamblers think they can attain the life they want through gambling."
He said, conversely, that females view gambling as a way to numb their emotional struggles and escape from their problems.
Both Mr Tan and Mr Neo agree that women tend to prefer non-strategic gambling, such as the lottery or jackpot.
Mr Neo said: "They prefer simpler games that act as stress and anxiety relief, with repeated actions to numb the brain."- CHEOW SUE-ANN