Should Hong Kong build a casino?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2009, 12:00am
 

Alvin Yuen, 18, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong doesn't need a casino because it will bring more problems than benefits. The first problem with building a casino is the land needed. Hong Kong already faces a shortage of land, and it's hard to justify allocating a large plot for gambling.

Secondly, we cannot compete with our rivals in the Pearl River Delta, where there are many illegal gambling dens. Also, mainland tourists are bound to spend a few days in Asia's gambling paradise - Macau - before or after coming to Hong Kong. Therefore, it is unlikely that a casino here would make a profit or survive in the competitive business.

Thirdly, a casino would have to compete with the Hong Kong Jockey Club which supports many local charities. Any reduction in the Jockey Club's income could have an adverse impact on the city's underprivileged. If a casino was built, the crime rate would go up, putting a heavier burden on taxpayers.

There is no need for Hong Kong to build another 'entertainment' venue for tourists. We have enough tourist attractions already. Building a casino would place a huge burden on the locals.

Naomi Ng, 17, Diocesan Girls' School

Most people associate casinos with bad things such as addiction, isolation and crime. But building a casino in Hong Kong could help curb illegal gambling and the social problems it brings. Hongkongers spend millions of dollars on illegal betting every year. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is the only legal gambling centre in the city, so people go to illegal bookmakers who offer better payouts.

These illicit operators offer a variety of gambling activities and easy loans, so people easily become addicted to gambling. Moreover, with lax age restrictions, even teenagers can place a bet. This could be a dangerous trend.

Illegal bookmakers don't pay any taxes and don't contribute to Hong Kong's economy. The majority of them have triad connections.

Building a casino, therefore, is one solution. Some may say gambling, whether it is legal or illegal, is addictive and leads to social conflict.

But do all those who drink become alcoholics? No. Should drinking be banned because of this problem? No. Likewise, not all those who gamble become addicts. Mainlanders flock to Macau's casinos to relieve their stress and relax. If Hong Kong wants to boost tourism, we should build a casino. And what better place than Hong Kong to spend the jackpot?

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