Risk and protective factors associated with gambling products and services: Indigenous gamblers in North Queensland


As part of a larger study, this paper reports on findings into risk and protective factors associated with gambling products and services by Indigenous Australians. Both Indigenous card gambling (traditional or unregulated) and commercial gambling (regulated) were investigated. Permission was granted by Indigenous Elders and by a university ethics committee to conduct this research. Using qualitative methods and purposeful sampling, interviews were conducted with 60 Indigenous and 14 non-Indigenous Australians, 14 non- Indigenous gambling help counsellors and 20 non-Indigenous gaming venue managers. Risk factors include gambling availability and familiarity, the use of non-monetary stakes and traditional exchange systems, venue comfort, social inclusiveness and ignoring cultural relationship restrictions. Protective factors include limiting physical and social access to gambling, self-regulated social group gambling and engagement with collective culture. From a public health stance, inclusive responsible gambling policies designed around access may assist Indigenous gamblers in more appropriate and meaningful ways.

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