A strengthening of services for problem gamblers is to be studied by an inter-departmental working group. A Home Affairs Bureau spokesman said the group would take a three-pronged approach to devising preventive and remedial measures for pathological gamblers. This would include launching education programmes and forming partnerships with universities and non-governmental organisations which have carried out research or offered services for those affected. The bureau will also liaise with overseas bodies which are already attempting to tackle the problem. A bureau official said: 'We don't have a lot of information about the problem in Hong Kong.' Another bureau official said a recent study by the Polytechnic University found 1.85 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 64 could be considered pathological gamblers. Separately, legislators were yesterday briefed on final changes to be made to the Gambling (Amendment) Bill, which has been scrutinised by a bills committee. 'If there is no major problem, we hope it will be tabled for second and third reading so that it will become law before the World Cup Finals in June,' the first official said. Under the bill, bookmakers outside Hong Kong will be prohibited from taking bets within the territory.