Chinese and their Gambling Movies
by Desmond Lam

Chinese and their Gambling Movies
by Desmond Lam

I decided to write this article after some of my friends approached me wanting to learn more about Chinese gambling habits and culture. Often, the first thing that I would do is to direct them to watch a bunch of Chinese gambling movies. Like many Chinese that I know, I was born a movie buff. I remember when I was young, my family would gather before our television set every evening for the latest Chinese TV drama series and/or movies. ‘Let’s have rice with TV’ was what my mother often said back in those days. These programs mostly come from Hong Kong, which has a thriving movie industry that started many years back.

There is so much to learn from Chinese gambling movies. These movies in many ways reflect Chinese culture: the way we learn, what we believe (to a certain extent), our way of lives, and more importantly, how we see gambling. It also creates a ripple of influence on Chinese audience and affects the way we see ourselves.

It is perhaps a great way to use these movies as educational and entertainment material to introduce new casino staff to Chinese gambling culture, which is often a part of the Chinese way of life. They can further be used as a basis for brainstorming new product and marketing ideas/themes that target Chinese gamblers. In addition, a thorough investigation of these movies may also provide some insights into the impact of gambling (positive and negative) on Chinese society.

Perhaps the most well known of all Chinese gambling movies are the God of Gamblers (1989) starring Chow Yun Fat and All for the Winner (1990) starring Stephen Chow. These movies caused a craze during their time and created a fad of Chinese gambling-theme movies that followed after their screening. A good TV drama series to watch will be The Shell Game (1980). Below is a list of Chinese gambling movies:

Below are the Hong Kong box office results for some of these movies. God of Gamblers and All for the Winner were top box office hits for the year that they were screened. Even till now, they are well-liked by audiences throughout Asia.

To conclude, I would strongly encourage all those who know little about Chinese culture to watch some of these movies before embarking on your adventure to Macau. This will add fun and increase your appreciation of Chinese ways of gambling and understanding of how these ways intertwine with our lives, likes and dislikes.

YesAsia.com (www.yesasian.com)
Play-Asia.com (www.play-asia.com)
Cinemasie.com (www.cinemasie.com)
Hong Kong Movie Data Base (http://hkmdb.com)

Date Posted: 13-Sep-2006

Desmond Lam is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Macau. He can be contacted at DesmondL@umac.mo.

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