Meanings of Aboriginal gambling across New South Wales, Australia

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Publication details

Breen, H, Hing, N, Gordon, A & Buultjens, J 2012, 'Meanings of Aboriginal gambling across New South Wales, Australia', International Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 243-256.

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A social perspective of gambling explains gambling as a consequence of the social, structural and cultural environment in which gamblers live. In the Australian Indigenous context the social perspective is important, given the significance of community and family ties. This paper aims to explore meanings of Aboriginal gambling across New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Taking an interpretivist stance, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 knowledgeable Indigenous Australians, key elected and nominated state representatives. Meanings of Aboriginal gambling included the collective activity of gambling within social networks in the hope of a win. More problematic meanings of gambling were always gambling to win, chasing losses and continual financial distress which appeared to reduce social network bonds. Contrasting problem gambling with recreational gambling revealed that some Indigenous gamblers use their existing cultural and kin relationships on which many of their social networks are based to gamble together in a controlled recreational manner.