Mahjong gambling in the Chinese-Australian community in Sydney: a prevalence study

Wu Yi Zheng, Michael Walker, Alex Blaszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Mahjong is a popular gambling game played in Chinese communities all over the world (Papineau, China Perspect 28:29-42, 2000) and is sometimes referred to as '' (guodu, the Chinese national gambling game) or '' (xiu changcheng, repairing the Great Wall). Exploratory studies using snowball sampling conducted by Zheng et al. (J Psychol Chin Soc 9(2):241-262, 2008) indicated that Mahjong is not only a popular pastime within the Sydney Chinese community but also problematic for around 3% of players. The current study aimed to extend earlier studies by estimating the prevalence of Mahjong problem gambling in a random sample of Sydney Chinese community members. In addition, due to first-hand gambling experience of the first author with superstitious Mahjong players, the study also investigated the role of superstitious beliefs in Mahjong gambling. The current study involved a series of self-report questionnaires administered to 469 randomly selected Chinese Australians in Sydney. The problem gambling rate, assessed by the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI), was 3.8%, with Chinese males and older Chinese prominent. Superstitious beliefs were found to play a part in the maintenance of Mahjong gambling behaviour. Information stemming from the current study has helped gain insight into culturally specific forms of gambling, and to identify correlates of problem gamblers. Funding bodies and counselling services should be aware of the existence of this form of gambling, and should devise appropriate treatment plans for Mahjong problem gamblers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Behavior, Addictive
  • China
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Gambling
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Mahjong gambling in the Chinese-Australian community in Sydney: a prevalence study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this