Gambling culture in China as compared to that of India


  • Carlos Gohn University of Macau


This paper aims at exploring some analogies and some differences in the context of gambling culture in China and gambling  in the cultural context of India. TSE et al (2010) look at gambling problems in China through a social-historical, cultural perspective; YE (2009) examines the motives that lead Chinese people to flock to Macau casinos and LAM (2007) compares gambling motivation factors between Chinese and players in other parts of the world. The original contribution from the present author is to provide a counter-perspective stemming from India, which approaches the topic from a different angle, so to speak. In India one may deeply experience the ritualization of gambling, which is already present in the Mahabharata epic. One may probably say that nowhere else has gambling been codified to such an extent. Suffice it to say that Pachisi (a kind of Ludo game) has been metaphorically described as the battlefield where the individual may be given the chance to get to know how to arrive to his or her final destination. Gabriel (2000) further elaborates in an article with the suggestive title of ?ambling and Spirituality, a New Anthropological Perspective? The literature about gambling psychology in China deals with therapeutic measures to tackle addiction, but it goes not to the extent of viewing the gambler as one who is facing the experience of ying ? So that the ultimate aim of life may be fulfilled (which may be seen as an intriguing perspective from the point of view of new therapeutic approaches to problems resulting from excessive gambling ). The paper thus engages with some recent debate over how to best help problem gamblers.