Mahjong gambling and Chinese international students in Sydney: an exploratory study

Wu Yi Zheng, Michael Walker, Alexander Blaszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International student education is a major industry in Australia, with students from Chinese backgrounds making up the largest single group. Adjusting to a new culture places demands on international students which may be met by social involvement with others from the same culture. Mahjong gambling is an avenue by which these students can enter social life in Australia in a culturally appropriate way. At the same time, the family and cultural barriers to heavy involvement in gambling on Mahjong are absent. Therefore, there is a basis for concern as to whether excessive Mahjong gambling may be a problem among Chinese students in Australia. To explore this possibility, a survey of 172 Chinese international students in Sydney was conducted. Results indicated that
26.2% of the sample played Mahjong for money in the previous twelve months. Importantly, 2.9% of the sample met Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI) criteria for problem gambling. Male students and students from Hong Kong were significantly more likely to wager on Mahjong, with non-Mahjong gamblers revealing a more Western orientation compared to Mahjong gamblers. Since the sample cannot be assumed to be representative of all Chinese students in Sydney, these results must be treated with caution. Nevertheless, the evidence strongly suggests that gambling on Mahjong is common among Chinese
international students in Sydney and may be associated with substantial problems for a minority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-262
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Psychology in Chinese Societies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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