Prevalence of illegal websites gambling

Underage gambling is a global concern. Studies in other countries generally show that more than half of secondary school students have gambled for money in the previous year (involving all forms of gambling, in particular social gambling, lotteries, betting on sports and casino games).

There is a strong association between underage gambling and illegal gambling. Underage persons are vulnerable to thousands of illegal and offshore gambling websites readily available online, many of which are not regulated by law and do not have any age control. Many even provide loans to lure young people to gamble.

Hong Kong being an advanced digital city also increases the chance of young people coming into contact with illegal gambling opportunities. Hong Kong people have the highest mobile internet usage rate in the Asia Pacific region, amongst them many are students. A study conducted in 2013 found that 90% of students were using smartphones and nearly half spent over three hours on smartphones each day. In other words, they have easy access to illegal gambling activities through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. It is worth noting that another study tracking web traffic of illegal gambling websites found that about 10,000 underage persons visited and patronised these websites out of a total of more than 200,000 in Hong Kong.