Risk factors for problem gambling among Indigenous Australians: An empirical study


Despite a long history of gambling amongst many Indigenous peoples, knowledge about contemporary Indigenous gambling is sparse. In Australia, previous studies of Indigenous gambling have been severely limited in number, scope and rigour. The research reported in this paper is based on the first Indigenous-specific quantitative gambling research undertaken in Australia since 1996 and draws on the largest sample to date. This study examined numerous aspects of gambling among Indigenous Australians. After appropriate consultations and permission, the study collected surveys from 1,259 self-selected Indigenous adults in 2011 at three Indigenous festivals, online and in several Indigenous communities. This paper draws on these data to identify problem gambling risk factors by comparing selected socio-demographic characteristics, early exposure to gambling, gambling motivations, gambling behaviour, gambling cognitions, and substance use while gambling, amongst non-problem, low risk, moderate risk and problem gamblers. A logistic regression investigated the difference between problem gamblers and all other PGSI groups. Risk factors associated with being a problem gambler were: being older, commencing gambling when under 10 years old, always being exposed to adults gambling as a child, using alcohol and/or drugs while gambling, having family and friends who gamble, having an addiction to gambling and not gambling to socialise, having a high expenditure on commercial gambling, and living in a state or territory other than NSW or QLD. Public health measures to address these risk factors are identified.

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