Gambling harms and gambling help-seeking amongst Indigenous Australians


This paper aimed to analyze the harms arising from gambling and gambling-related help-seeking behaviour within a large sample of Indigenous Australians. A self-selected sample of 1,259 Indigenous Australian adults completed a gambling survey at three Indigenous sports and cultural events, in several communities and online. Based on responses to the problem gambling severity index (PGSI), the proportions of the sample in the moderate risk and problem gambler groups were higher than those for the population of New South Wales. Many in our sample appeared to face higher risks with their gambling and experience severe gambling harms. From PGSI responses, notable harms include financial difficulties and feelings of guilt and regret about gambling. Further harms, including personal, relationship, family, community, legal and housing impacts, were shown to be significantly higher for problem gamblers than for the other PGSI groups. Most problem gamblers relied on family, extended family and friends for financial help or went without due to gambling losses. Nearly half the sample did not think they had a problem with gambling but the results show that the majority (57.7 %) faced some risk with their gambling. Of those who sought gambling help, family, extended family, friends and respected community members were consulted, demonstrating the reciprocal obligations underpinning traditional Aboriginal culture. The strength of this finding is that these people are potentially the greatest source of gambling help, but need knowledge and resources to provide that help effectively. Local Aboriginal services were preferred as the main sources of professional help for gambling-related problems.

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