Gambling impacts on Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, Australia: community leaders’ perspectives

Gambling affects communities in many ways, yet relatively little research has investigated community level impacts of gambling in the context of Indigenous communities. To help address this gap in research, this research investigates the impacts of gambling on Aboriginal communities across New South Wales, Australia. Thirteen Aboriginal community leaders were interviewed by an Aboriginal member of the research team. Interviews were semi-structured, in-depth and conducted by telephone. The results showed some culturally distinctive positive and negative gambling impacts were being experienced across different Aboriginal communities. Positive impacts were reported as collective socialising and the opportunity to win money. Negative impacts were said to be community deprivation and cultural obligations not being fulfilled. Several important public health strategies to reduce negative gambling impacts were suggested. These were to enable self-recognition of gambling difficulties by the gambler, to use already established Aboriginal support groups to assist in this process, and to design and provide culturally appropriate public education and gambling awareness programs targeted at a community level. Recognising differences between communities, involvement by local Aboriginal people in developing and providing public health programs is recommended.

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