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Asian gamblers given mixed messages on bus trips

20 November 2008

UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- As reported by The Boston Globe: "The images on the video flicker past - Chinese dragons marching, rolling dice, cards being dealt, men betting at a table. The message is aimed at helping Asians who might be problem gamblers.

"What is striking is where the five-minute video is shown - on buses, catering to Asians, that leave Quincy, Lowell, Boston and other spots in Massachusetts for Mohegan Sun, the sprawling casino in Uncasville, Conn.

"A coalition of concerned groups wants to catch the attention of Asians who might think they have a problem as they ride down to the casino. It alerts them to the signs and symptoms of problem gambling and tells them of resources for help, said Chien-Chi Huang of the state Council on Compulsive Gambling.

"The video is not antigambling; it is about raising the awareness of the risk of developing gambling problems, Huang and others explained.

"Problem gambling is a particularly difficult problem among Asians, they said, because it's seen as entertainment and a social activity, unlike some other cultures, which view it less benevolently.

"Another part of that philosophy is catering to Asian gamblers. In July 2007, it opened the $17 million Sunrise Square, a separate area within the casino.

"...On a recent Friday afternoon, the area is jammed with gamblers playing Asian games: Pai gow poker and pai gow tiles, where bets are placed as a dealer deals black tiles. Crowds three and four deep crowd around the tables for sic bo, an ancient game played with three dice. There are also many mini-baccarat tables, as well as a popular Chinese restaurant.

"Casino officials declined to say how much the section earns, but note that about 50 buses a day - from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut - bring in Asians looking to gamble and have some fun. They include Vietnamese, Koreans, Laotians, and Filipinos, but most are Chinese..."

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