Australia identifies major problem with under-age gambling A worrying number of Hong Kong and mainland students in Australia are spending large sums gambling in casinos even though they are under-age. Both university and school students are gaining access to casinos and use fake IDs if they are younger than 18. A counsellor with the South Australian Overseas Chinese Association, Robin Fan, said under-age gambling by Chinese students was a significant problem. 'One student from Hong Kong lost A$15,000 [$88,350] in one night,' Mr Fan said. 'Three university students were sent to me last week and they all began gambling at the casino when they were under-age.' Half of Adelaide's overseas students are Chinese. A 17-year-old mainland student used a fake ID to gain access to the SkyCity casino in Adelaide and later admitted he had lost A$40,000 in five months. On one day alone last year he lost A$11,000. Mr Fan said young, isolated and under-age students were required by Australia's Immigration Department to keep large sums of money in local bank accounts. 'They are lured to the gambling table. I hear from the classmates and friends of many about the problem gamblers ... and some of them are very young. One university student lost around A$200,000.' Mr Fan said that over the past seven years he had dealt with 500 cases of gambling addiction in the overseas Chinese community. Most under-age students caught gambling were deported or taken back to China by their parents. But a 10-month inquiry by the South Australian Liquor and Gambling Commission was halted last week after students refused to give evidence because they feared their study visas would be cancelled. Commissioner Bill Pryor said the inquiry could not continue without a guarantee the students would be immune from prosecution. Mr Pryor said minors should be deterred from seeking entry to the casino. Nick Xenophon, a state member of parliament who was elected on a 'No Pokies' ticket, revealed the addiction to casino gambling among Asian secondary school students in December last year. Mr Xenophon said the failure of the government to grant immunity to students had stopped the inquiry from continuing. Students were terrified they would be packed off home if they did give evidence. He said he had asked South Australia's Independent Gambling Authority to launch a formal investigation into why the commission inquiry had been halted. But in a letter to Mr Xenophon, SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson said he could not grant immunity to the students because the content of their potential evidence was unknown. Education Adelaide, a state government organisation that promotes South Australia as a destination for overseas students, said many young Chinese were vulnerable. 'We should do all we can to ensure that they understand how to manage their money,' a spokesman said.