Asian Gambling Basics
Gambling became popular in China in the last phase of the imperial dynasty i. e. from 1644 to 1912. Canton, Macao, Shanghai and Hong Kong became the famous for their liquor and gambling. These areas inhabited foreigners, usually Americans, who were known to be rough. Moreover, majority of these inhabitants were males. Chinese natives indulged in gambling along with the foreigners.
Mah Jongg, meaning 'sparrow' is an ancient game which was developed primarily for the rich class of China. The game is said to have been invented by a fisherman to prevent sea sickness. It is said that the fisherman invented this game to distract the other fishermen from the surroundings, so that they do not feel sea sick in the middle of the sea. Later, a Chinese general heard of the game and engaged his soldiers in it at night to prevent them from falling asleep. The game underwent a lot of variations and every region called it with a different name. Finally, the game was standardized in early 1990s. the game consists of 136 to 144 tiles depending on the whether the players choose to play with flowers or seasons. The play resembles rummy except for the fact that the game is played with tiles. The game also uses a pair of dice and chips to keep the score. It requires four players, the aim of each being to obtain a set of tiles. The set types that are permitted are "kong", "pung" and "chow". A complete hand contains four sets and a pair of similar tiles. The fist one to have this combination of fourteen tiles wins.
Despite the popularity of these gambling games, not all Chinese states are ready to legalize it. While Macao has legalized gambling, Shanghai carries it on illegally. In Hong Kong, only horse raising is legalized and The Hong Kong Jockey Club earns huge revenue.