A South China Morning Post survey of gamblers at Sha Tin revealed most were spending less on betting, while those spending more were doing so out of desperation to escape the economic gloom. Lau Tak-po, 42, yacht worker: 'I used to come every Saturday. Now I just come once or twice a month. My bets are only 60 per cent of what they used to be. The economy is bad, so people aren't betting like before.' Chan Lin, 61, retired office clerk: 'Even if people don't eat rice, they're still going to come racing. Hong Kong is boring. Unless you go to Macau or play mahjong, there's no better way to gamble. Watching horses makes me happy. The economy hasn't changed my practice; I still bet about $300 a meeting. Young couples probably bet less as they have a family.' Leung Siu-kee, 29, cleaning worker: 'I used to bet $500 to $600 at each meeting, but now I'm only betting $200 to $300. My boss is only giving me a five per cent rise this year. Last year, he gave us a nine to 10 per cent rise.' Gordon Bennett, 44, computer consultant: 'I made more money this year and I'm betting more now; $4,000 a meeting instead of $3,000. I'm betting more because I'm scared. You never know how bad the economy is going to get. It's still going to get worse before it gets better. 'This is the best racing in the world. You're never going to see jackpots like this.' Tam Gok-fei, 58, does odd jobs: 'I'm still betting $400 a week. It's a recreation for me. I don't plan to change my betting habits.' Yip Tong-leng, 38, repair man: 'I think when the economy is bad, more people come out. They may bet less, but they still bet. They're hoping to hit the jackpot.'