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Analysis of recent Chinese gambling movies and its business implactions

English Abstract

Given the undeniable importance of the gaming (which includes but are not limited to casino gaming, horse racing, sports betting, and/or lottery industry) in Macau, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and many countries around the world, it is crucial to study the Chinese gamblers in different context. Media portrayal is one interesting and important way to understand the culture and values of one society. It is suggested in literature that movies may represent culture. Despite movies may provide fantasies, the fantasies actually confirms the dreams of the audiences. In addition, movies may not only reflect, but may also alter social views towards gambling and affect the public through social learning theory. This study takes a qualitative approach in understanding the media portrayal of gambling. Unlike numerous Western studies, Asian studies on gambling movies largely revolve around the portrayal of the main characters. Thus, this paper address the literature gap in two ways: (a) categorizing Chinese movies into different themes to study the images of gambling depicted in the movies and (b) characterization of gamblers and psychological analysis of how gambling behavior is portrayed in movies, especially illusion of control and risk-taking behavior. The objective of this study is to understand the media portrayal of gambling and gambling behavior. The study does not attempt to infer movie behavior to actual behavior, as the movies in behavior may not entirely reflect actual behaviors. This paper takes a qualitative approach to explore the media portrayal. Numerous observation hours are spent reviewing and documenting the Chinese-gambling movies. In general, it is found that Chinese gambling-themed movies are dominantly portrayed gambling as positive. Themes relating to skills, competition and tournament are very popular. Cognitive distortions, especially active illusionary control (e.g. skills efficacy) and passive illusionary ABSTRACT control (luck) are highly represented in movies. On the other hand, the media portrayal of risk-taking behavior is not explicit: given that the dominant theme of movies being professional gambling, the gamblers are fully confident of their outcomes, and thus the encouragement of risk-taking behavior is not as highly represented in the media. The different findings of the media portrayal in popular themes and gambling behavior such as the illusion of control and risk-taking behavior can help to provide understanding on the extent of distortion and misinformation conveyed to public. It can provide insights to cooperate social responsibility and entities promoting responsible gambling. For instance, organizations can pinpoint on the distortions and educate the gamblers on the misperceptions of illusion of control frequently portrayed in the media. Businesswise, the popular themes identified can help to give insights to designing welcoming casino products and appealing marketing programs based on the popular symbolic icons and themes

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Un, Oi Neng


Faculty of Business Administration


Department of Management and Marketing




Gambling -- China

Gambling industry -- Macau

Gambling -- Economic aspects -- China


Lam, Chee Shiong

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