Mahjong is a big part of common culture in China. It is one of the most common social activities and pervades many aspects of social and family life.
As examples of the popularity of Mahjong;
- Most people have a Mahjong set at home
- Most Chinese restaurants also offer Mahjong playing set for their customers.
- During Chinese weddings, guests will often play Mahjong while waiting for events to progress.
- A count-down Mahjong before the Chinese New Year or the New Year is a typical practice for many Hong Kong families.
- The elderly are encouraged to play Mahjong as brain exercise.
- It is said that to invite a person to a Mahjong game, is to befriend the person!
But the popularity of mahjong can also bring problems…
Officially, casinos are illegal in Hong Kong. However, there are legal Mahjong schools, where gamblers can play Mahjong. As a result, addiction to Mahjong is a common type of problem gambling in China.
Mahjong is has also been used as a favourite medium for bribery – the person giving the bribe will intentionally lose large sums of money to the person being bribed.