The clinical and social construction of the Paichais of Macau

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Chan, Chi Chuen and Ohtsuka, Keis ORCID: 0000-0002-2338-0697 (2013) The clinical and social construction of the Paichais of Macau. Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, 3 (1). ISSN 2195-3007


The aim of the present study was to understand the clinical and social construction of pathological gamblers in Macau. In Macau, they are called Paichai (扒仔), which literally means “to grab money from others.” This article is a qualitative enquiry into Paichais who gamble in the casinos daily, often for a prolonged period of time. Some Paichais are “resident” gamblers in the casinos who live on the complimentary food and drinks that the casinos provide and sleep on the couches inside the casino premises. To finance their gambling, they hustle and sometimes beg for money. Fifteen participants, ranging in age from 24 to 53 years, were recruited from the casinos in Macau who were repeatedly observed and interviewed. The emphasis of the interviews were to explore the participants’ accounts of how their gambling problem had developed and how gambling influenced their lives and their significant others. The Canadian Problem Gambling Index Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) (Ferris & Wynne, 2001) was used to assess their gambling status. Clinical assessment of the participants was based on the results of clinical interviews, observation notes and the scores on the PGSI. It was found that the majority of the participants could be classified as belonging to the antisocial-impulsive type according to the Blaszczynski and Nower (2002) pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Paichais can be described as manipulative, cunning, impulsive, reckless and lacking the ability to reflect on their actions. The current study attempts to understand these individuals from the particular social and cultural perspectives of Macau

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Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1702 Cognitive Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords pathological gambling, Macau, Paichais, to grab money from others, Chinese gambling, gamblers, casinos, resident gamblers
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