Published: 11 September 2017
Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider the imposition of obligations, either via licensing conditions or regulations, on gaming arcade operators to identify patrons believed to be suffering from gaming addiction and implement appropriate steps with a view to helping them cope with their addiction.
1. Gaming arcades are regulated as amusement centres by the Police under the Public Entertainments Act. The Act regulates public entertainment to ensure that it is carried out in a lawful and orderly manner, in line with standards of public decency, and at suitable locations. This includes requiring operators of amusement centres to ensure that their establishments are not used for crimes.
2. Gaming does not pose the same level of law and order concerns as gambling, and amusement centres are therefore not required to identify patrons who may suffer from gaming addiction. That said, amusement centres are not allowed to admit students in school uniform, nor persons below the age of 16 before 6.30pm on a school day. This provides a certain level of safeguard for our young.
3. Beyond this, the Media Literacy Council (MLC) has been raising awareness of gaming addiction. It has resources on its website for parents and individuals to identify and manage online addictions among children and youths, including excessive computer gaming. The MLC also reaches out to the online community via social media to raise awareness of the issue.
4. Family and friends should also look out for signs of a loved one with a gaming addiction. They can encourage their loved ones to seek help at social service centres such as Touch Community Services and Fei Yue Community Services, which offer counselling and support services. Those with more serious addictions can be referred to the National Addictions Management Service, which offers treatment programmes and services.